Rockets roll over Indiana-Northwest by 64 pointsWritten by Zach Davis | | email@example.com
Riding a three-game losing streak, Toledo desperately needed to win to gain momentum going into conference play.
They did so in historic fashion.
The Rockets trounced an overmatched NAIA opponent Indiana-Northwest 107-43 on Jan. 3, the first time UT has scored over the century mark since 2003. The 64-point victory was also the fifth largest margin of victory in school history.
“I thought tonight’s game was good for a lot of reasons,” UT Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk said. “When you are playing non-Division I, you want to make sure you are not playing down to the competition. I don’t want to play down to competition and have our guys not be able to handle success, they need to grow up and mature and I thought tonight from start to finish we played with discipline and focus.”
With the win, Toledo enters Mid-American Conference play with an 8-6 record. Indiana-Northwest drops to 2-13 on the year.
Sophomore guard Rian Pearson recorded 19 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high five assists in 21 minutes. His double-double was a team-best fourth of the season.
“This was a confidence game for us, it was pretty fun to get our confidence back.” Pearson said. “Coach just told us to keep it going and don’t let up.”
Junior forward Matt Smith (8 of 9) scored a team-high 21 points while freshman point guard Juice Brown (8 of 14) racked up 20 points and eight assists. Junior guard Dominique Buckley (3 of 5) was the final Rocket in double figures with 15.
The Rockets started off fast scoring the game’s first six points and cruising to an 18-3 lead in the first five minutes. In a half in which the team shot nearly 66 percent (23 of 35), Toledo led by as many as 44 and took a 66-24 advantage to the half.
The second half didn’t see a letdown from the Rockets as the team tightened up defensively, holding Indiana-Northwest without a field goal for the first nine minutes as UT opened up on a 17-1 run.
“I thought we showed maturity and never played down to the competition,” Kowalczyk said. “I think it is important for our confidence.”
Toledo will hope to stay in the win column when it opens up conference play in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. on Jan. 7 at Central Michigan (5-8).