Second-Half Spurt Propels Toledo to 85-78 Win at Ball State
MUNCIE, IN - Toledo broke open a tight game at Ball State midway through the second half on Wednesday evening and then held off the hard-charging Cardinals to post an 85-78 road triumph in Worthen Arena.
The victory keeps the Rockets (8-10, 4-3 MAC) one game behind Western Michigan (13-7, 5-2 MAC) in the Mid-American Conference's West Division. The Broncos also won on the road tonight with a 72-68 victory at Miami.
Junior G Rian Pearson spearheaded Toledo's attack with 24 points, knocking down 9-of-15 shots from the field and all six of his attempts from the charity stripe. Joining Pearson in double figures were junior F Matt Smith (19 pts, career-high five treys), junior F Reese Holliday (season-high tying 16 pts.) and sophomore G Julius Brown (13 pts.).
Brown, who matched his season high with 10 assists to register his first career double-double, quarterbacked a Rocket offense that committed just four turnovers en route to its biggest offensive output of the season.
Toledo shot 51.7 percent from the field, including a 55.2 clip in the second stanza, and was 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) from three-point range. UT also converted 18-of-21 (85.7 percent) free-throw attempts to raise its season mark to an impressive 79.0 percent. Ball State finished with a 45.6 FG% and was 5-of-18 (27.8 percent) from three-point range.
The Cardinals also had four players in double figures, led by senior G Jauwan Scaife's 23 points. Junior C Majok Majok had a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds to help BSU dominate the glass by a 41-25 margin.
The contest was a back-and-forth affair that featured 10 tied scores and 10 lead changes until Toledo snapped a 51-51 tie with an 11-2 burst for a 62-53 lead with 8:45 remaining. Smith continued the Rockets' momentum by drilling three straight treys over the next five minutes to expand UT's cushion to 77-62 with 3:20 to play.
Ball State then began to chip away at its deficit and eventually reduced its deficit to three points, 81-78, with 12.9 seconds remaining. Senior G Dominique Buckley iced the game though with a pair of free throws with 11.4 ticks left to give UT back-to-back wins in Muncie for the first time since winning five in row from 1976-80.