Toledo blows out HuskiesWritten by Zach Davis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rockets, the last remaining Mid-American team without a conference victory, picked up a resounding 71-41 win on Jan. 18 over rival Northern Illinois in Savage Arena.
Toledo (9-9, 1-3 MAC) entered the night losing eight of its past 10 games after starting the season 6-1. The Rockets and their top-ranked MAC offense (74.1 ppg) shot over 53 percent from the field (25 of 47), including over 47 percent from behind the arc (9 of 19), as they trounced the last place Huskies (2-13, 1-3).
“We are happy,” junior guard Curtis Dennis said. “We still have a lot of work to do but it feels good to finally get a win. It was much needed.”
Dennis led all scores with 18 points of the bench (6 of 10) and grabbed six rebounds. After scoring in double-figures in four of his first six games after missing the first nine games of the season due to NCAA transfer rules, Dennis scored just 10 points in his last two games in losses. The junior guard is averaging 12.3 points per game off the bench for the Rockets this year.
“He took some good shots,” UT head coach Tod Kowalczyk said. “He has had a hard time lately making shots because of mechanical issues. We worked on it, he bought in and he has had success with it. We need Curtis to come off the bench and make some shots for us. He’s a very good shooter and hasn’t been doing that for us. That’s a problem.”
“I have been struggling lately but today I wanted to come out and get back into a rhythm,” Dennis said. “My teammates found me and set great screens and I was able to hit some shots tonight.”
Sophomore forward Reese Holliday racked up 11 points (4 of 6) with five rebounds while junior guard Dominique Buckley scored 10 (4 of 9). Leading scorer Rian Pearson (15.9 ppg) had just eight points but pulled down nine rebounds.
Northern Illinois was held without a scorer in double-figures, shooting just 30.2 percent (13 of 43) on the night.
Despite the success of the UT offense, the Rockets struggled to take care of the ball racking up 17 turnovers, including eight by Pearson. The Huskies, however, were unable to take advantage turning those 17 turnovers into just nine points.
“Offensively I’m not really happy with how we played,” Kowalczyk said. “I thought we made shots but I don’t think we moved the ball like we are capable of and 17 turnovers against Northern Illinois are to me not acceptable. I guess it’s a good thing when you win by 30 and the coach isn’t really happy.”
The Huskies kept the game close through the first 12 minutes trailing 18-15 before UT ripped off a 19-3 run to end the half at 37-18. Northern Illinois wasn’t able to make much of a dent after halftime as the Rockets lead ballooned to the 30-point margin they won by.
Toledo will begin a two-game road trip on Jan. 21 when the team travels north to Ypsilanti to take on Eastern Michigan (8-10, 3-1) at 2 p.m. After losing nine of its past 11 games, EMU defeated Ball State and Western Michigan in the last five days—both of which handed UT losses last week.