Toledo headed into last night’s game against Western Michigan University looking to make up for their 90-74 loss to WMU earlier this season. Unfortunately, the Rockets gave up a massive 15-point lead, losing the game 56-61 in overtime.
“Well, obviously an extremely disappointing game,” said men’s head coach Tod Kowalczyk. “We’re up eight at halftime and not even playing all that well. I thought we would have guarded better, and offensively we weren’t very good”
Toledo managed to maintain an early lead for most of the first half, but a late 5-0 run by the Broncos brought the score back within six points late in the half.
The Rockets managed to stop the WMU run and even gained back much of their earlier lead before time ran out, giving UT a 31-23 lead heading into halftime.
How the teams played in the paint turned out to be extremely important for the first half of this game, with UT managing to outscore and outrebound the Broncos.
Toledo dominated the boards in the first half, outrebounding the Broncos 24-18. These rebounds helped the Rockets build their advantage with six second-chance shots.
These second-chance shots also helped UT control the ball inside the paint, where the Rockets outscored the Broncos 20-14.
Another impressive stat for the Rockets in the first half was that the team only gave up one turnover, while WMU gave up four.
The Rockets carried their first half momentum into the second half with ease, where a three-ball from Jaelan Sanford and a Steve Taylor Jr. layup extended the lead to 11 just three minutes into the half.
This lead continued to build to a 15-point advantage for the Rockets, and the game became increasingly out of reach for Western Michigan.
Western didn’t slow down and managed to bring the score within three points, 44-41, on the back of three straight scores from third-year WMU guard Thomas Wilder.
After a Toledo timeout, the Rockets turned off cruise control and managed to put a stop to Western Michigan’s dominating run, not allowing the Broncos to score on five straight possessions.
This defensive control did not last long when a putback and a Toledo turnover brought the game back to only a two-point lead for the Rockets.
Two free throws put the Rockets back up by two, but fouls started to catch up to the team. A foul by Sanford put Western into the bonus, where two easy free throws put the lead within one score for the Broncos.
A controversial call on a loose ball ended in the Rockets favor and led to an extremely heated Western Michigan bench, but, after a review, the ball stayed in Rocket possession.
With the game still within two points, a massive intentional foul call on John Williams gave the Broncos the free throws necessary to tie the game up with only 50 seconds left in regulation and the ball in Bronco possession.
After a botched WMU shot, the ball was back in Rocket possession with 30 seconds left and an electric Savage Arena.
The ball was knocked out of bounds with three seconds left, giving the Rockets one last chance to avoid overtime.
A bricked jump shot from Taylor Jr. put the Rockets into their eighth overtime of the season, tying an NCAA record.
A three-pointer solidified a lead for the Broncos as both teams traded layups, putting WMU up by three with 53 seconds left to go.
Coming out of a timeout, second-year forward Nate Navigato nailed a massive three-point shot to tie the game up again with 45 seconds left to go.
This shot was matched on the other side of the court with a WMU three-pointer, putting the Broncos up by three points again.
This shot put the ball back in Rocket possession with only one shot left to either send the game into double overtime or solidify massive Bronco comeback.
The ball swung around to Lauf, but the shot barely missed. Coming off the rebound, an offensive foul was called on Steve Taylor Jr., giving the Broncos the foul shots necessary to put the game out of reach for the Rockets, by a final score of 56-61.
“It’s very disappointing because we had a 15-point lead and we blew it,” commented Steve Taylor Jr. after the game. “We just have to get back in the lab and not get down because we still have a chance to do some great things.”
The UT men will look to bounce back from this loss this Friday when they face off against Central Michigan at 6:00 p.m. in Savage Arena.