Toledo notches first MAC win

TOLEDO, OH â?? Six Rockets scored in double figures to lift Toledo to its first Mid-American Conference victory of the season, an 86-71 home win over Central Michigan (7-7, 0-2 MAC). The triumph snapped a two-game losing skid and improved the Rocketsâ?? record to 13-2 overall and 1-1 in league play.

Junior guard Juice Brown paced UT offensively with 15 points and tied his career high with 12 assists for his third double-double of the season and seventh of his Rocket career. Junior forward J.D. Weatherspoon also notched his first career double-double with 14 points and a career-best 11 rebounds.

Also scoring in double figures were senior guard Rian Pearson (14 pts.), sophomore center Nathan Boothe (13 pts.), freshman guard Jordan Lauf (season-high 12 points) and junior guard Justin Drummond (11 pts., career-high six assists).

Toledo was extremely efficient offensively, shooting 57.1 percent from the field and collecting a season-high 23 assists with just 11 turnovers. UT also converted 8-of-17 three-point attempts (47.1 percent) and 22-of-27 (81.5 percent) free throws.

Sophomore guard Chris Fowler topped CMU with 21 points and eight rebounds.

UT limited the Chippewas to a 44.6 shooting mark, including a 23.8 percentage (5-of-21) from behind the three-point arc, en route to its fifth straight victory in its series with CMU.

Toledo led for nearly the entire contest and took its biggest lead of the opening stanza, 25-16, on Pearsonâ??s jumper with 6:55 remaining in the first half. CMU battled back to within three on sophomore Blake Hibbittsâ?? jumper at the 1:39 mark, but a Weatherspoon jumper and trey on UTâ??s final two possessions provided the Rockets a 35-27 advantage at intermission.

Toledo increased its lead to 59-43 following two Lauf free throws with nine minutes to play, the Chippewas rallied to within six points, 68-62, following a Fowler layup with 4:13 left.

Brown knocked down a trey on UTâ??s next possession, and Drummond then sank four straight free throw for a 75-62 cushion with 2:19 to play. Toledoâ??s lead didnâ??t dip below 10 points the rest of the way.

The Rockets remain at home next week with a matchup vs. MAC East Division foe Buffalo (8-4, 2-0 MAC) on Wednesday, Jan. 15. Tip-off time in Savage Arena is set for 7:00 p.m.

Courtesy: Toledo Athletics