Rockets Roll to 71-41 Victory over Northern Illinois
TOLEDO, OH - Toledo broke through for its first Mid-American Conference victory of the season on Wednesday evening in Savage Arena with a resounding 71-41 triumph over West Division foe Northern Illinois. The 30-point victory was the Rockets' largest conference triumph in nearly six years, and the Huskies' 41 points were the fewest UT has allowed in a MAC contest since Jan. 31, 1998.
Junior G Curtis Dennis topped the Rocket attack with 18 points in addition to grabbing five boards in 27 minutes. Sophomore F Reese Holliday added 11 points (including a career-best three treys), while junior G Dominique Buckley contributed 10 points and three steals.
Sophomore G Rian Pearson led Toledo with nine rebounds to help UT post a 32-27 advantage on the glass. He also scored eight points and grabbed three steals in 29 minutes.
The Rockets shot 53.2 percent from the field, including a nine-for-19 effort from behind the three-point arc. UT limited the visitors to a 30.2 FG% and forced 23 turnovers.
Northern Illinois dominated the boards in the game's early stages and held an 11-10 lead with 12:29 remaining in the first half thanks primarily to an 11-4 rebounding advantage. Freshman G Julius Brown and Dennis hit back-to-back treys though to give UT its first sizable lead of the contest, 18-13, with 8:33 left in the opening stanza.
Toledo concluded the half with 19-3 run to take a 37-18 advantage into the locker room, finishing with a red-hot 59.1 FG% and 62.5 three-point FG%.
UT controlled the second half as well and never let its lead dip under 18 points the remainder of the contest.
The Rockets return to action on Saturday, Jan. 21 with a trip to Ypsilanti, MI to battle MAC West Division co-leader Eastern Michigan (8-10, 3-1 MAC). Tip-off time is set for 2:00 p.m.
NOTE: Toledo's last 30-point win in MAC play was an 88-58 home victory over EMU on Jan. 26, 2006...NIU's 41 points were the fewest points UT has allowed in a MAC game since a 53-41 win over Bowling Green on Jan. 31, 1998...The Rockets snapped their four-game losing streak in its series vs. NIU and also snapped a three-game overall losing streak.
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