TOLEDO, OH - An efficient offensive display lifted Toledo (19-16) to its first postseason victory since 2001, a 76-63 home triumph over Southland Conference foe McNeese State (17-16) in the first round of the 2012 CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
MAC Freshman of the Year Julius Brown, who registered his first double-double with 15 points and a season-high 11 assists, quarterbacked a Rocket attack that registered a 61.4 shooting mark for UT's best offensive showing since a 62.5 FG% at Central Michigan on March 3, 2004.
Joining Brown in double figures were junior G Curtis Dennis (18 pts., 4 reb.), sophomore G Rian Pearson (17 pts., team-high 7 reb.) and junior G Dominique Buckley (11 pts., 4 stls.).
Toledo limited the Cowboys to a 42.6 FG% and also held a slim 28-27 advantage on the boards. UT did a solid defensive job on Southland Conference Player of the Year Patrick Richard, holding him to 10 points on 4-of-17 shooting. Freshman F Desharick Guidry and sophomore F Adrian Fields paced MSU with 11 points apiece.
The Rockets controlled much of the first half and took their largest lead, 34-20, on a pair of Pearson free throws just over four minutes before halftime. MSU ended the stanza with a 14-2 run though to reduce UT's lead to 36-34 at intermission.
The Cowboys remained in striking distance until a 10-0 spurt by the Rockets gave UT a 64-48 advantage with 6:41 to play.
Toledo hit six of eight free throws in the final three minutes to ice the game.
The Rockets will face a yet-to-be determined opponent in the second round this weekend.