A valiant effort by a gritty Toledo team came up short as the Rockets fell to Buffalo, 76-66, in the championship game of the Mid-American Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament action at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Saturday.
Toledo (23-11) was led by junior guard Jaelen Sanford’s 20 points.Freshman guard Marreon Jackson added 13 points, while sophomore forward Willie Jackson contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Sanford and Marreon Jackson each were named to the all-tournament team.
The Rockets will have to wait until Sunday night to find out if their season will continue in post-season play.
Playing without MAC Player of the Year Tre’Shaun Fletcher, the Rockets stuck with No. 1 seed Buffalo (26-8) most of the way until a 9-0 Bull run late in the game broke open a close game.
Marreon Jackson’s three-pointer tied it at 63-63 with 5:32 left. But Buffalo’s Wes Clark hit a jumper and a pair of free throws, followed by three-pointer and a layup from Nick Perkins to open a lead that Toledo could not counter.
The Rockets were only able to score three points in the final five minutes of play, sealing their fate.
Toledo shot 36.8 percent (21 of 57) from the floor, 7-of-22 (31.8 percent) from three-point range. The Rockets had a season-low seven assists.