Brown's Buzzer-Beater Propels Toledo to 67-65 Triumph over Buffalo
TOLEDO, OH – Junior guard Julius Brown hit a buzzer-beater to lift Toledo to a 67-65 Mid-American Conference victory over Buffalo (8-5, 2-1 MAC) on Wednesday evening in Savage Arena. The win moved the Rockets (14-2, 2-1 MAC) into a three-way tie for first place in the MAC’s West Division and kept UT unbeaten in eight home dates this season.
Brown hit his 19-foot game-winner after the Bulls’ Shannon Evans tied the score at 65-65 with 2.4 seconds remaining. After a Rocket timeout, senior forward Matt Smith threw a length of the court pass to sophomore center Nathan Boothe who then dished the ball to Brown.
Brown, who became the 42nd Rocket to eclipse the 1,000-career point mark earlier in the second half, paced the Rockets with 20 points and six assists in a season-high 39 minutes. Also scoring in double figures were junior forward J.D. Weatherspoon (13 pts.), senior guard Rian Pearson (12 pts.) and junior guard Justin Drummond (12 pts.).
Drummond and Weatherspoon also paced the Rockets on the boards with seven rebounds apiece.
Senior forward Javon McCrea topped Buffalo with 20 points, 10 boards and four blocked shots. Also scoring in double figures was senior guard Joshua Freelove (16 pts.)
A big key to the victory was Toledo producing its top defensive half of the season as it limited the Bulls to a 31.4 shooting mark in the final 20 minutes, the lowest by a UT opponent in a half this season.
Buffalo couldn’t miss in the opening 10 minutes as it jumped out to a 26-13 lead. UT answered though when Brown hit back-to-back treys and Weatherspoon hit a pair of free throws to reduce the Bulls’ lead to 26-21 with 9:03 to play in the first half. Toledo couldn’t put any further dent into its deficit though and ended up trailing by a 39-32 margin at the half.
Weatherspoon then electrified the crowd with an alley-oop slam, a tip dunk and a three-point to give the Rockets their first lead since the game’s opening minutes at 44-43 with 11:51 left in the contest.
McCrea then responded with a three-point play to put the Bulls back in front, 52-48, with 7:17 left. Drummond then tied the score at 52-52 at the 6:29 mark with a layup and a pair of free throws on UT’s next two possessions.
Neither team led by more than two points the rest of the way. Buffalo took its last lead, 58-56, on senior guard Jarod Oldham’s layup with 4:39 left.
Brown then scored the Rockets’ final eight points with two field goals and four free throws.
Toledo returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 18 when it visits MAC East Division leader Akron (11-5, 3-0 MAC). Tip-off time is set for 11:00 a.m. with the contest being televised on ESPNU.