Rockets season ends to Robert Morris in CITWritten by Zach Davis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, the UT men’s basketball team’s season came to a close when the Rockets lost 69-51 against Robert Morris on March 17 in Savage Arena.
Toledo finished the season with a record of 19-17 after posting a school-worst record of 4-28 the last two years. Its 15-win turnaround is the second largest in the country.
“We had a very good turnaround this season but we just ended it by not playing the right way,” UT head coach Tod Kowalczyk said. “I thought we made a lot of strides this year and I really look at it as our first year here. We continue to get better but tonight wasn’t our night.”
The Rockets struggled offensively right out of the gate against Robert Morris (26-10), missing their first 16 shots from the field. UT trailed 18-3 early, as it took nearly 12 minutes for Toledo to get its first field goal.
“I thought we played tired and a step slow from start to finish,” Kowalczyk said. “We truly had our worst game of the year. It was a tough and physical Robert Morris team, but we didn’t make a shot to start the game. We missed our first 16 shots and we never responded from that.”
Sophomore guard Rian Pearson was the lone player for UT to score in double figures with 14 on 5-of-15 shooting. Junior guard Curtis Dennis (2 of 8) and freshman point guard Juice Brown (3 of 9) scored nine and seven points, respectively.
Toledo’s first half offensive struggles doomed them, shooting just 21 percent from the field and missing all nine shots from behind the arc. Trailing 30-16 at the half, the Rockets cut the lead to eight points three minutes after the break but two consecutive three-pointers bolstered the deficit back to 14. An 11-1 Robert Morris run beginning six minutes later buried UT, who went on to trail by as many as 24 as the Colonials eliminated Toledo 69-51 on their home floor.