Senior guard Jonathan Williams led a balanced attack with 18 points to guide Toledo to a 77-62 victory in first-round action of the Mid-American Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament at Savage Arena Monday night.
Redshirt freshman center Luke Knapke and sophomore guard Jaelan Sanford added 12 points each, and six Rockets overall scored at least eight points.The No. 7 seed Rockets (17-15) advance to the MAC Tournament quarterfinals vs. No. 2 seed Ohio (19-10) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
The Rockets led by only four points at halftime, 32-28, but outscored Bowling Green, 43-34, in the final 20 minutes to claim their second win in three tries over their rivals. Toledo held a decisive 39-29 edge on the boards.
Toledo jumped out to an early lead behind seven points by Knapke and a three-pointer by Jordan Lauf that put the Rockets up, 14-8, at the first media timeout. A three-pointer by BGSU’s Wes Alcegaire cut UT’s lead to 16-15 at the 13:27 mark. UT pushed the lead back out to 22-17 on a three-pointer by Williams at the 12:01 mark. The Falcons tied it at 24-24 on a three-pointer by Dylan Frye with 5:26 to play in the half. Toledo regained the lead by outscoring BG 8-4 over the final five minutes to take a 32-28 lead into the locker room.
The Rockets extended their lead in the opening minutes of the second half when Lauf hit a three-pointer from the corner to make the score 40-30 with 18:18 remaining. BGSU trimmed the lead to four on a three-pointer by Roderick Caldwell, making the score 40-36 at the 17:08 mark.
But the Rockets answered with a 23-4 run capped by a layup by Sanford and a pair of free throws by Nate Navigato that made the score 65-42 with 8:10 to play. Bowling Green would get no closer until late in the game as the Rockets coasted to victory.