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Toledo Hangs On Over Rival Bowling Green

The Falcons gave the Rockets all they could handle, but it wasn't enough on Wednesday night in Savage Arena.

Justin Drummond led the way for the Rockets with 22 points.
Justin Drummond led the way for the Rockets with 22 points.
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The Bowling Green-Toledo rivalry may not be as heated on the basketball court as it is on the gridiron, but Wednesday night provided another physical chapter in the basketball portion of the rivalry. Both teams combined for 35 fouls, 24 of which coming from the Falcons. That was ultimately the difference as the Rockets used the free throw disparity to their advantage to move to 7-2 in conference play.

Fouls were in the end the story of the game as Toledo held a 35-8 advantage in free throws attempted. They made 29 of those which more than made up for the 37% field goal percentage. On a night where the Rockets weren't hitting from the floor, they went into attack mode and got to the line.

Justin Drummond did the most damage there going 10-11 from the charity stripe along with 2-3 from behind the arc for a game-high 22 points. Drummond also had four assists and seven steals. It wasn't a career high, but it was the fifth straight double digit scoring game this year. He's averaging a very quiet fourteen points and five boards and is generally seen as the third or fourth wheel behind Rian Pearson, Julius Brown and J.D. Weatherspoon. That's definitely a plus when the third best player on the team gets that kind of production.

The first half started without much defense on Bowling Green's end as the Rockets zoomed out to a 26-10 lead. Richaun Holmes picked up two fouls in the first two minutes and Cameron Black got his second foul with ten minutes left in the first half. With a depleted bench, foul trouble will always be a problem for the Falcons and that was seen in the first half as four of BG's eight players who actually play were saddled with two fouls. Credit the Falcons for coming back though, as Bowling Green scored the last five points of the half to cut the lead to nine.

A quick 12-4 run to start the second half got the Falcons to within two but that was the closest they would ever get. Every time the Rockets would start to pull away BG would come back a little but they could never get it tied up. Toledo went 10-12 over the final 1:45 of the game to seal the victory and keep a stronghold on their lead in the MAC West.

Bowling Green was led by Jehvon Clarke and Anthony Henderson, both of which scored 23 points. Clarke was just two assists and three rebounds away from a triple double while Henderson had seven boards and six assists. Spencer Parker had sixteen points and seven rebounds and is really coming around after a quiet year last season.

Toledo's big four just keep scoring and tonight was no different. Drummond had 22, Pearson scored sixteen, Weatherspoon finished with twelve and Brown had ten. The Rockets pulled down 43 rebounds; included in those are Weatherspoon's thirteen. Both Pearson and Brown were perfect from the free throw line, contributing to the Rockets' solid 83% free throw percentage.

Bowling Green heads back to the comfort of the Stroh Center for a big game against Akron on Sunday. Toledo will try to extend their division lead with a win on Saturday at Ball State.