Second-Place Rockets Host EMU on Saturday Night at 7:00 p.m.
- Toledo (10-10, 6-3 MAC) looks to extend its longest league win streak in the last six years when it hosts Mid-American Conference West Division foe Eastern Michigan (11-11, 4-4 MAC) on Saturday, Feb. 9 in Savage Arena. Tip-off time is set for 7:00 p.m.
- The Rockets are in second place in the MAC's West Division and trail first-place Western Michigan (15-7, 7-2 MAC) by one game. The Eagles, who sit alone in third place in the West, posted a 65-46 home victory over Buffalo on Wednesday but are winless in nine road contests this season.
- UT features two of the MAC's top scorers with junior G Rian Pearson pacing the league at 18.1 ppg and sophomore G Julius Brown in ninth place at 13.9 ppg.
- Pearson and Brown are the MAC's top scoring tandem at 32.0 ppg with Bowling Green's A'uston Calhoun (15.5) and Jordon Crawford (15.4) ranking second at 30.9 ppg.
- Toledo has continued as the MAC's top free-throw shooting squad this season. UT paces the conference at 78.8 percent (and ranks second in the nation as of Feb. 7) after leading the league last year with a 72.6 mark.
- UT is the only school to feature four players among the MAC's Top 25 scorers in league games. Pearson is averaging 16.8 ppg (4th) followed by Brown (14.3-10th), Dominique Buckley (10.9/19th) and Matt Smith (10.3/22nd).
- Senior G Derek Thompson comes off the bench to lead Eastern Michigan with 11.0 ppg and also has a team-high 48 three-point field goals. Junior F Glenn Bryant is EMU's only other double-digit scorer with 10.2 ppg, including 17 points, five rebounds and four blocks in Wednesday's win over the Bulls.
UT'S 6-3 START TO MAC PLAY RANKS AMONG BEST IN LAST 20 YEARS
Toledo's six wins in its first nine league games equals the program's third-best start in the last 20 years. The Rockets' best record during this time frame is an 8-1 mark registered by the 2006-07 squad. Below are the top five ledgers for UT in the first nine games of league play over the last 20 years.
1. 2006-07....................... 8-1 Finished 14-2 (1st in West)/19-13 overall
2. 2003-04....................... 7-2 Finished 12-6 (2nd in West)/20-11 overall
3. 2012-13.................... 6-3 Currently 2nd in West/10-10 overall
1997-98....................... 6-3 Finished 10-8 (4th in West)/15-12 overall
1998-99....................... 6-3 Finished 11-7 (1st in West)/19-9 overall
TOD THE BUILDER
Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk posted a seven-win improvement from Year 1 (10-20) to Year 2 (17-11) at Green Bay. He doubled that feat and more at Toledo last year as UT registered 15 more wins than his first season at the Rocket helm.
When looking at his career record minus his first season at the helm at both Green Bay and Toledo, Coach Kowalczyk's record is 155-119 (.566) overall and 82-61 (.573) in conference play.
AMONG NATION'S BEST TAKING ADVANTAGE OF CHARITY
Toledo is the MAC's top free-throw shooting squad for a second-straight season. UT tops the conference and ranks second nationally (as of Feb. 7) at 78.8 percent after leading the league last year with a 72.6 mark. Davidson tops the nation with an amazing 80.9 FT% with Kent State holding the conference record at 78.4 percent in the 1988-89 season.
The Rockets have topped the 80 percent mark in nine of 20 contests, including a school-record 20-of-20 vs. Chicago State (Dec. 31). UT converted 26-of-27 free throws vs. Bowling Green (Jan. 26) and had a streak of 28 straight free throw makes snapped (spanning three games) vs. Kent State (Jan. 9).
Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk is no stranger to strong free-throw shooting squads. His 2008-09 Phoenix squad finished the season ranked second nationally in free-throw shooting percentage at 78.7 percent.
TAKING AN INDIVIDUAL LOOK AT UT'S FREE-THROW SHOOTING
Senior G Dominique Buckley leads the Rockets with a 90.3 mark with Matt Smith right behind him at 89.8 FT% (1st in MAC). They are followed by freshman G Josh Lemons (85.7), junior F Reese Holliday (80.3-7th in MAC), Julius Brown (78.1-10th in MAC) and Rian Pearson (76.1-14th in MAC). Buckley and Lemons don't qualify for the league rankings due to not enough free throws made.
Pearson, who has improved on his 68.0 percentage as a sophomore, sank a career-best 16 free throws against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi which are tied for third most in a game in school history. He leads the Rockets in free throws made (105) and attempted (138) for a second straight season with Brown ranking second with 57 free throws and 73 attempts.
In UT's win over Bowling Green on Jan. 26, Pearson became the first Rocket to make at least 10 free throws in a game without a miss since Tyrone Kent at Xavier on Nov. 17, 2008.
STREAKING AT THE LINE
Senior G Dominique Buckley has the Rockets' longest active streak at the free-throw line with 12 straight conversions and has made 22 of his last 23 attempts. Junior F Matt Smith and hunior G Rian Pearson each had lengthy streaks end last Saturday at NIU at the charity stripe with 22 and 18 straight makes, respectively. Sophomore G Julius Brown saw his streak of 22 straight free-throw conversions end vs. Bowling Green (Jan. 26). Former Rocket Nick Moore holds the school record with 29 in the 2000-01 season.
MORE FREE-THROW FACTS
- UT has an 81.9 FT% in MAC play with Smith (95.0%, 19-20), Buckley (92.9%, 13-14) and Brown (85.2%, 23-27) each topping 85 percent.
- Toledo has an 84.1 FT% in Savage Arena with Smith a perfect 14-of-14 at home. Buckley has a 92.3 FT% (12-of-13), Reese Holliday is at 86.4 percent (19-of-22) and Rian Pearson is at 86.2% (50-of-58).
- The Rockets are shooting 75.6% away from their homecourt with Buckley (16-of-18) and Smith (30-of-25) topping UT at 88.9 and 85.7 percent, respectively.
To see compete game notes click on PDF link above.