TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo men’s basketball team (13-6, 4-2 MAC) looks to stretch its winning streak to a season-high four games when it hosts Eastern Michigan (4-15, 1-5 MAC) on Tuesday, Jan. 24 on national television. Tip-off time in Savage Arena is set for 7:00 p.m. on the CBS Sports Network.
The Rockets posted an 86-77 victory at Buffalo on Friday and are currently tied for third place in the MAC with Ball State, two games behind Kent State and one back of Akron. RayJ Dennis tallied 21 points and seven assists and helped UT pull away down the stretch by scoring six points and dishing out three assists in a game-ending 15-7 spurt.
Also scoring in double digits for Toledo were Setric Millner Jr. (20 pts.), JT Shumate (12 pts.) and Dante Maddox Jr. (11 pts.). Shumate also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and a career-high four steals. Andre Lorentsson contributed a career-high eight points and was a perfect 2-of-2 from three-point range.
Toledo ranks seventh nationally with a MAC-best 84.9 ppg as well as ranking 18th with a 48.8 FG%. In league play, the Rockets are tied for first with a 49.6 FG%. Individually, Dennis ranks ninth in the nation with 6.0 apg and 14th with a 3.0 A/TO ratio. Shumate ranks 14th nationally with a 90.3 FT%. Dennis ranks third in league scoring at 18.5 ppg, while Shumate is fifth at 18.1 ppg.
Eastern Michigan brings a four-game losing streak into Tuesday’s game following Saturday’s 88-67 home loss to Northern Illinois. Sophomore Emoni Bates ranks second in the MAC in scoring with 19.3 ppg and is grabbing a team-high 5.6 rpg.
The Rockets posted an 86-66 road win in their only meeting last year vs. Eastern Michigan. Shumate topped Toledo offensively with 24 points, while Ra’Heim Moss registered 15 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double as a Rocket.
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023.
Tip-Off: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Toledo, Ohio.
Arena: Savage Arena (7,014).
Television: CBS Sports Network. Alex Del Barrio will provide play-by-play for broadcast with Tim Doyle serving as analyst.
Radio: Rocket Radio Network. WSPD (1370 AM) in Toledo. Mark Beier will provide play-by-play for broadcast with Jay Lehman serving as analyst.
Toledo leads 60-52. Toledo has won four of its last five meetings vs. EMU in Savage Arena and four straight overall in the series. UT faced EMU just once last year
and swept season series in ’20-21 for the first time since ’16-17.
MAC PLAYER OF WEEK (AGAIN & AGAIN)
Junior RayJ Dennis was named MAC Player of the Week for the third time this season after leading Toledo to victories over Ohio and Buffalo last week. Dennis’ honor marks the fourth time a Rocket has received the conference’s weekly award.
A Plainfield, Ill. native, Dennis led the Rockets to a pair of victories last week by averaging 23.0 points, 7.0 assists and 6.5 rebounds per game while posting an impressive 7.0 assist/turnover ratio. He also shot 52.9% (18-of-34) from the field and 57.1% (4-of-7) from three-point range.
PROTECTING THE BALL
Toledo ranks 27th in the nation with a MAC-low 10.9 turnovers per game. The Rockets have committed 10 or fewer turnovers in nine of 19 contests.
ROCKETS IN THE NCAA RANKINGS
• Toledo ranks FOURTH in the nation with 84.9 ppg, trailing Gonzaga (86.5), Southern Utah (86.0) and Cornell (85.1).
• The Rockets are also in the Top 35 in FG% (18th/48.8), 3PTFG% (38.4/21st), effective FG% (22nd/55.5), fewest TO’s/game (27th/10.9), A/TO ratio (27th/1.40), and FTs made/game (32nd/15.9).
• RayJ Dennis ranks ninth with a career-high 6.0 apg and 14th with a 3.0 A/TO ratio.
• JT Shumate ranks 14th with a 90.3 FT% and 45th with a 57.50 FG%.
ROCKETS IN THE MAC RANKINGS
• Toledo leads the MAC with 84.9 ppg, over five points better than Buffalo (79.7), and is also first in FG% (48.8), three-point FG% (38.4), A/TO ratio (1.40) and fewest turnovers/game (10.9).
• In league play, the Rockets are first with 84.7 ppg, a 1.51 A/TO ratio and a 49.6 FG%.
• UT is the only school to have three players among the MAC’s Top 20 scoring leaders — RayJ Dennis (18.5/3rd), JT Shumate (18.1/5th), and Setric Millner Jr. (14.6 ppg/14th).
• Dennis leads the MAC with 6.0 apg and a 3.0 assist/turnover ratio.
• Shumate is the only player in the MAC to rank in the Top 10 in FG% (57.0/5th), 3PTFG% (42.2%/6th) and FT% (90.3/3rd).
• Dennis and Shumate are tied for the MAC lead with 10 20-point outings.
• Shumate is third with 1.4 bpg.
•• Dante Maddox Jr. is fourth with a team-high 43.1 3PTFG%.
• Ra’Heim Moss is fourth with 1.7 spg and Millner Jr is eighth with 6.1 rpg.
• Toledo was ranked No. 23 in last week’s CollegeInsiders.com poll. Kent State is the only other MAC team in the rankings at No. 4.
• Toledo is the only MAC school to win 13 or more league games four of last five years.
• Toledo is looking to become the first school to win three straight outright league titles since Cincinnati won four in a row from the 1947-48 through 1950-51 seasons.
• The Rockets have won three straight games for the first time since opening the season by winning their first three contests. UT registered a nine-game win streak last year and an eight-game unbeaten stretch in the 2020-21 campaign.
• The Rockets have scored 90 or more points on six occasions and have topped the 100-point mark three times. Toledo scored 112 points vs. Oakland (Nov. 16) to match its most points ever scored under Coach Kowalczyk.
• UT is averaging 91.8 ppg in its eight home games and 79.7 ppg in six road contests.
• Toledo has three MAC Player of Week honorees this season – RayJ Dennis (Nov. 14, Dec. 12) and JT Shumate (Nov. 21). Shumate has also earned MAC Male Scholar-Athlete of Week honors on two occasions (Dec. 14, Jan. 11).
• Toledo was 8-2 in conference road games last season after posting a 6-3 mark in league contests away from home in the 2020-21 campaign.
• RayJ Dennis has scored in double digits in every game this season (15 or more in 15 games) after ending the 2021-22 season by scoring in double digits in a career-high 14 straight games.
• Dennis tallied a career-high 29 points, a season-best nine rebounds and six assists vs. Canisius. He also dished out a career-high 12 assists and scored 17 points vs. Oakland (Nov. 16).
• JT Shumate has a 50.0 three-point FG% (19-of-38) in his last nine games. He tied his career high with 33 points on 15-of-21 shooting vs. Oakland (Nov. 16) to earn MAC Player of Week honors.
• Last year, Shumate ranked in the MAC’s Top 15 in seven categories. He was first with a 48.2 three-point FG%, second with 1.3 bpg, fourth with a 55.4 FG%, and fifth with an 82.0 FT%.
• Setric Millner Jr. has four 20-point outings as well as three double-doubles this season. He leads UT with a career-high 6.4 rpg and ranks third in team scoring with 14.7 ppg. Last year, Millner scored a career-high 28 points at WMU (Feb. 22) and tied his career best with five triples.
• Millner, Jr. has a 56.3 FG% and 55.6 3PTFG% in his last five contests.
• Ra’Heim Moss scored a season-high 18 points vs. Lourdes and ranks fourth in the MAC with a team-high 1.8 spg. Moss recorded his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds in last year’s 86-66 win at Eastern Michigan (Feb. 1).
• Dante Maddox Jr. ranks fourth on the team with 10.7 ppg and fifth in the MAC with a 43.9 3PTFG% (29-of-66). He led Toledo in scoring for the first time this year with his 18-point outing at NIU (Jan. 14) and is averaging 13.0 ppg with a 58.0 FG% (29-of-50) in his last seven games.
• EJ Farmer tallied 11 points vs. Ohio (Jan. 17) for his fourth double-digit outing of the season. He grabbed a season-high five rebounds and scored four points at Buffalo (Jan. 20).
• Farmer is shooting 55.7% from the field and 41.2% (7-of-17) from three-point range.
• AJ Edu grabbed a season-high nine rebounds and scored seven points at NIU (Jan. 14). He also blocked a season-high three shots at Buffalo (Jan. 20).
ON THE HORIZON
Toledo will remain home this weekend to host arch-rival Bowling Green (9-10, 3-3 MAC) on Saturday, Jan. 28. Tip-off time for the contest is set for 2:00 p.m. with streaming on ESPN3.