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Toledo secures first place in MAC West spot

 

The Rockets men’s basketball team extended their winning streak to seven defeating Western Michigan University 85-81 and arch rival Bowling Green State University 101-75 last week. Toledo (15-6, 6-1 MAC) now hold a three game lead in the west division. “To be honest we don’t talk about how many in a row, we talk about how to get better” said Toledo head coach Tod Kowlaczyk. Fourth-year forward Tre’Shaun Fletcher led the way against WMU with 22 points while third-year guard Jaelan Sanford added 21. First-year guard Marreon Jackson recorded a career-high fifteen points. “Seven game winning streak, that’s cool,” said Fletcher, “we still haven’t done anything yet and we still have a lot of work to do.”He was not the only player to record a career-high as Western Michigan guard Thomas Wilder scored 40 points, but it was not enough as UT shot 46 percent from the field and the three-point line by the Mid-American Conference’s best shooting team.After four early lead changes in the first half the Broncos scored seven points including two jumpers by Reggie Jones that put them ahead 17-10. The Rockets regained a two-point lead after a three by Fletcher with 8:16 left in the first half. Three pointers by Sanford and third-year forward Luke Knapke saw the lead grow to six. A tip in by the Broncos’ forward Seth Dugan tied the game at 36 with two minutes remaining in the first half. After a three by Jackson and several free throws Toledo led at halftime 43-41. Wilder tied the game with a jumper on the first possession of the second half. Jackson hit two more triples and Toledo led 51-45 with 16:41 left. A block by Knapke led to a three by Sanford that gave UT it’s largest lead of nine. But Wilder was relentless getting to the paint and the free throw line and helped cut the lead to just three.Wilder continued his tear with back to back threes that gave Western Michigan their first lead of the second half 75-74 with 4:40 left in the game. But UT answered strong with seven straight points to go back ahead 81-75. “Were still a young team” Kowalczyk said when asked about the potential of his team.Dugan converted an and-one to cut the Broncos deficit to just one with 22 seconds left. But the midnight blue and gold took care of business at the free throw line to walk away with the four point victory. Against BGSU Fletcher put on quite a performance recording 26 points 12 rebounds and eight assists. Sanford and Knapke both added fourteen points. The offense was on fire again as UT shot and unbelievable 67 percent from the field.Toledo started slow on the offensive end an trailed 13-8 after the first six minutes. They picked it up quickly and tied the game with a three by first-year guard Dylan Alderson. The Rockets used a 15-2 run to create separation mid-way through the first half. Another eight straight points including four by Knapke put Toledo ahead by 21 with three minutes left in the half.“We didn’t start the game well but I thought we were efficient on both ends tonight” Kowlaczyk said. Fletcher knocked down a three with two seconds left in the half to stretch the lead to 54-30. In the first three minutes of the second half the Rockets extended the lead again behind seven points from third-year forward Nate Navigato. The Falcons did not come within twenty points the rest of the game as they could not stop the high powered Toledo offense. “We didn’t want to take them lightly,” Fletcher said “we got off to a slow start but we made up for it in the first and second half.”The 26 point margin of victory was the largest ever for Toledo in the 171-game history between the two teams. The midnight blue and gold will play Ball State at Savage Arena on Jan. 29. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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