If Nathan Boothe felt like he needed to prove he was one of the best players in the conference playing against the MAC favorite on national TV, he certainly succeeded in that desire. The senior center scored 25 points from everywhere on the court, shooting 9-17 from the field including two 3-pointers to lead the Rockets to an impressive 78-64 victory over Akron.
Toledo led early and throughout the entire game, only trailing for 1:55 of game play early in the first half. The Rockets got whatever they wanted to on the offensive end, and limited Akron to low-percentage three-point attempts which the Zips couldn't hit. The way to beat Akron is to limit the amount of good looks they get from beyond the arc, and Toledo certainly did that holding their opponents to just 7-29 (24 percent) shooting from deep.
Boothe was the catalyst, and Akron couldn't do anything to stop him. The few moments he was on the bench was when Akron made their runs, but the closest they got in the second half was at 49-43 with 12 minutes remaining. Toledo responded with a 21-6 run over the next seven minutes, including 7 points from Boothe and 10 from Stuckey Mosely. Mosely played fantastic, tying his career high with 19 points on 6-7 shooting from the field including a perfect 3-3 mark from the 3-point line. The sophomore guard also dished out 4 assists and nabbed 3 steals.
Although the Rockets shot only 55 percent from the free throw line, they did a lot better of a job getting there than the trigger-happy Zips. The victors got to the charity stripe 29 times, hitting 16 of them while Akron went just 9-14 on free throws.
The Zips will be glad to get home after a disastrous road trip. Losing by 11 on the road at Central Michigan was tough, but following that up with this loss has Akron scratching their heads. Dealing with adversity is something that Akron really hadn't had to do all year - most of their wins had been by pretty comfortable margins where the ending outcome was really never in doubt. Akron hasn't found a way to dig themselves out of a hole, and that doesn't bode well if they get down early again during the rest of the season.
On the other hand the Rockets have to be encouraged with their play tonight. Coming off of a tough loss at home to surprise Northern Illinois, it would have been easy to play scared against the perceived best team in the East. They never backed down though and came out firing, taking a lead in the first four minutes of the game and never looking back.
Toledo will look to build a winning streak at now-East division leaders Bowling Green next Tuesday. Meanwhile, Akron will have to regroup at home against in-form Eastern Michigan. Both games will tip off at 7 and will be streamed on ESPN3.
|Points||N. Boothe (25)||I. Johnson (16)|
|Rebounds||N. Boothe (9)||I. Johnson (9)|
|Assists||Two tied (4)||Three tied (3)|
|Blocks||N. Boothe (1)||Four tied (1)|
|Steals||S. Mosely (3)||I. Johnson (2)|