The best team in the MAC this season continued its dominant ways as the Toledo Rockets (18-2, 6-1 MAC) went into Oxford and snapped the Miami RedHawks’ (8-10, 4-3 MAC) three-game winning streak, winning 83-70.
Neither squad got off to a great start as the score remained tied at just 4-4 nearly five minutes into the game, the result of poor shooting and sloppy turnovers from both sides. Miami’s Willie Moore quickly followed that up with five consecutive points to give the RedHawks a 9-4 lead. The score stayed in favor of Miami until the 11:24 mark when a three from Toledo’s Julius Brown tied the game up at 15-15. The Rockets took the lead shortly thereafter and stayed in front until a breakaway dunk from Moore tied the score at 25-25. That was the last time Miami didn't trail on the night, and as both teams entered the locker rooms for halftime the Rockets found themselves on top 37-33.
The fact that Miami held a lead for a good chunk of the first half was thanks in large part to its willingness to push the pace and get to the basket, evidenced by the fact that the RedHawks went nearly the entire half without scoring outside the paint. Geovonie McKnight’s 18-footer with less than two minutes remaining in the half was the shot that broke the streak.
Miami had a much tougher go of it in the second half. The Rockets quickly expanded their lead to double-digits and, with help from consecutive 3-pointers from Justin Drummond, saw their lead balloon to 49-36. It took the RedHawks nearly eight minutes to score the seven points they needed to crack 40, and by then it was too late. Toledo’s lead reached 18 at its highest point and when the clock hit zeroes it added another notch to its impressive win column, taking Wednesday night’s match in Oxford.
Despite hanging around for half of the game, the numbers show that Miami never really had a chance against the Rockets. The home squad made just one shot from beyond the arc on the night and missed the other 16, good for a 6 percent 3-point shooting percentage. Add in the fact that the RedHawks were out-rebounded 44-26 and it’s hard to believe they had the Rockets on the ropes to begin the night. Miami did force 21 turnovers, an impressive feat considering Toledo allowed the fewest turnovers among all MAC teams entering the night.
Drummond recorded his second double-double on the season, posting 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Senior forward Matt Smith tied a season-high with 10 points coming off the bench. Miami’s McKnight had the best scoring performance of his career, recording 18 points on 7 of 15 shooting.
Miami’s next game is this Saturday when it plays host to Eastern Michigan. Toledo will travel to Athens to take on the Ohio Bobcats.
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