Kent State traveled to Savage Arena in Toledo, OH on Saturday, to face a Rockets club they beat in Kent back on January 21st. The Flashes win over Toledo was their best all-around performance of the MAC season.
Kent proceeded to win four of their next five before dropping a heart-breaker to Bowling Green, 84-83 on Tuesday night. Toledo beat Eastern Michigan on Tuesday and came into Saturday’s contest playing well.
Toledo came out gunning in this one.
They would run out to at 12-9 lead behind 5-of-6 shooting early. The Rockets had it all working offensively as they would use 5 assists to get 7 field goals and a 17-11 lead. While Toledo held a 39% shooting advantage, Kent State was able to stay in the game with four early offensive rebounds.
The Rockets just couldn’t miss though as their shooting would improve to 11-of-13, capped off with back-to-back threes, as they pushed their lead to 30-20 at the 7:16 mark in the first half.
As the half was winding down, Toledo would finally go cold for several minutes, just long enough for Kent State to go on an 8-2 run, and cut the lead to 32-28 with 3:56 on the clock.
The Rockets would come right back though and finish off a remarkable 79% shooting half with a three pointer at the buzzer, making it 44-34 at the half. The Rockets astonishing 79% half becomes more impressive when you find that they took more than half of their shot attempts from distance.
Kent State didn’t shoot poorly as they were 45.2% from the field and 40% from three point range, they just couldn’t get any stops or slow down the scorching hot Rockets’ offense.
I’m sure that the Kent State faithful were waiting for Toledo’s shooting to come back to earth in the second half, but if so they are still waiting.
The Rockets would use an 8-0 run to extend their lead to 52-36 at the under 16 media timeout. The Flashes would go on a 6-0 spurt cutting the lead to 10, however Toledo responded immediately with a 7-0 run of their own, taking a 59-42 lead with 11:24 to play.
Toledo would run away with things from there and with a 73-53 lead, Toledo was making a legitimate run at the school’s all-time shooting percentage record for a game. The Rockets were sitting at 71.4% with 3:59 to play.
The school record was attained on January 25th, 1986 when they Rockets shot 71.7% against Ohio University. The Rockets would come up short of the record, but their amazing shooting performance was more that enough to trounce the Flashes 78-58.
Toledo’s dominant win evens the season series between the two schools at 1-1. The Rockets were led by Jonathan Williams with 21 points on 7-of-10 from the field and 2-of-3 from three point range, while dishing out six dimes. Steve Taylor Jr. filled up the box as usual with 20 points, 7 boards and 5 assists, while sophomore guard Jaelan Sanford pitched in with 16 points.
Toledo moves to 13-12 overall and 6-6 in MAC play. They will head to MAC East leading Akron University on Tuesday night at 7 PM EST.
Kent State was led by Jaylin Walker with 13 points off the bench. They have now dropped two in a row and fall to 13-12 overall and 5-7 in the MAC.
The Golden Flashes will look to get back on track when they host Miami on Tuesday night at 7 PM EST.