It was the second-straight season the Bobcats knocked the Rockets out of the league tourney.
Junior guard Curtis Dennis led Toledo offensively with 17 points with sophomore forward Reese Holliday tallying 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Ohio limited UT’s leading scorer and rebounder Rian Pearson to eight points and four boards after he registered 18 points and a career-high 17 caroms in the team’s first meeting.
D.J. Cooper paced the Bobcats with a game-high 18 points, five assists and five rebounds with junior forward Reggie Keely contributing 13 points and six boards off the bench.
Toledo outshot Ohio 41.9 percent to 38.2 percent, but the Bobcats held a 38-29 advantage on the boards. UT also was hurt by 16 turnovers and shot only 61.9 percent from the charity stripe. The Rockets entered the contest as the MAC’s top free-throw shooting team at 72.9 percent.
Trailing 26-24 at the half, UT saw the Bobcats take control in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the second half, taking a 37-24 advantage on junior guard Walter Offutt’s steal and layup. After the Rockets limited Ohio to eight first-half field goals, the Bobcats knocked down seven shots in the first 5:30 of the second stanza.
Ohio then pushed the lead to 48-32 on a Keely dunk off a Kellogg steal and assist at the 12:58 mark. Toledo closed its deficit to 50-43 with 8:30 left on sophomore forward Matt Smith’s dunk. However, Ohio went on an 8-2 run, thanks to threes from Cooper and T.J. Hall.
Toledo opened the game limiting the Bobcats to one field goal in their first 14 shots to take an 8-3 lead. Cooper ignited a 9-0 spurt with seven points to give Ohio a 12-8 advantage. UT bounced back and regained the lead at 15-14 on a Dennis trey at the 7:04 mark but that was the last lead the Rockets enjoyed.