The Toledo Rockets have one of the best rosters in the MAC and that depth showed on Thursday night in Chestnut Hill. Star guard Rian Pearson was held to just nine points on 4-for-8 shooting, but Justin Drummond and Julius Brown stepped up to fill the scoring void and lifted their team to a 95-92 win over Boston College.
Brown and Drummond combined to score 43 of the Rockets 95 points, including a combined 14-for-15 effort from the free throw line. Brown, who had a game-high 23 points, also controlled the offense from whistle to whistle dishing out 10 assists against just one turnover. With Brown leading the way, the Rockets shot an other-worldly 69.6 percent from the field in the second half and 57.1 percent for the game.
"You look at us, we had 13 assists and six turnovers. We played really clean," said Toledo coach Ted Kowalczyk. "Teams that shoot high percentages do so because one, they have good players, but also because they take good shots. I remember maybe two quick threes in the first half. But other than that I don't remember a bad shot the rest of the night."
Those two threes in the first half accounted for a whopping 33.33 (repeating) percent of Toledo's three-point attempts. In a sport that is rapidly becoming three-point heavy, Toledo managed to score 95 points by taking just six threes and making two of them. Conversely, Boston College is one of the most three-point oriented teams in the country, shooting 7-for-23 from behind the arc.
The Rockets actually trailed for most of this game and whittled an eight-point halftime deficit to just two midway through the half before the Eagles stretched it back out to as many as eight at 82-74 with 4:17 to play in the game. From there, however, things took a turn Toledo's way.
Two free throws from Jordan Lauf, a three by Drummond, two more free ones from Nathan Boothe, and a jumper by Brown, with two BC free throws sprinkled in there, cut the lead to 84-82 with 2:11 left. Hanlan made two free throws (sensing a theme?) to make it 86-82, but then Drummond put down a dunk and made two free throws to knot the score. Brown, as he did all game, hit the shot that put Toledo up for good, burying a long two with 55 seconds to play.
"[Brown] is terrific, and he made some big shots," Boston College coach Steve Donahue said. "He had a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio last year. They put some more pieces around him [this year] and I thought he did a terrific job."
Brown and Drummond's play in relief of Pearson was huge and was always going to be needed. Toledo had Pearson expending most of his energy covering Hanlan and when he didn't get going early, it became the responsibility of his teammates to pick him up and they did just that.
Pearson managed to keep Hanlan in check for a good chunk of the game, but the BC point guard still managed to get 18 points and six assists. Pearson giving up his offense for the better of the team says a lot about him as a player, and Donahue recognized as much and commended him for it after the game.
Toledo improved to 2-0, while Boston College falls to 0-3. Hanlan's 18 was a team high while Ryan Anderson (15), Joe Rahon (15), Garland Owens (12) and Patrick Heckmann (10) also scored in double digits.