Toledo sent out seniors Chris Darrington, Nate Navigato and Jaelan Sanford with a 64-58 victory over Eastern Michigan on Friday night to earn the No. 2 seed in the 2019 Mid-American Conference Tournament.
The victory gave the Rockets their 25th victory of the season, the second most in program history and two shy of the school record set by the 2013-14 squad.Toledo (25-6, 13-5 MAC) won the MAC’s West Division by three games over Central Michigan and will open play in next week’s MAC Tournament Thursday, March 14, against the winner of No. 7 Northern Illinois and No. 10 Ohio. The Huskies will host the Bobcats in DeKalb, Ill., in a first-round matchup Monday, March 11.
The Rockets utilized a balanced attack to defeat the Eagles with Sanford and sophomore Spencer Littleson leading the way with 14 points apiece. Sophomore Marreon Jackson tallied 13 points, while Navigato added 10.
Seniors Paul Jackson and Elijah Minnie paced Eastern Michigan (15-16, 9-9 MAC) with 17 and 15 points, respectively.
The key to the Rockets’ victory was their perimeter shooting. After opening the contest by missing its first seven three-point attempts, Toledo finished with a 46.4 three-point field goal percentage (13 of 28) against the Eagles’ 2-3 zone defense. EMU knocked down only 2 of 14 attempts from behind the arc.
Both teams posted similar shooting marks from the field and the free-throw line. UT shot 42.2 percent from the field and hit 13 of 16 free throws, while EMU notched a 42.3 field goal percentage and converted 12 of 16 free throws.
MAC Tournament tickets can be purchased online at the Toledo Rockets’ website, by calling 419.530.GOLD (4653) or by visiting the ticket office in Savage Arena. Only tickets purchased through the University will be in the Rocket section of Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.