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Rockets Rally Shoots Down Eastern Michigan, 84-79

TOLEDO, Ohio – Senior JT Shumate scored 20 points to lead five Rockets in double figures and help the Toledo men’s basketball team rally for an 84-79 victory over Eastern Michigan on Tuesday night before 5,162 fans in Savage Arena. The victory gave UT a season-high four-game winning streak and moved the Rockets (14-6, 5-2 MAC) to a game behind Kent State (16-3, 6-1 MAC)  and Akron (14-6, 6-1 MAC) in the league standings.

“I never once thought we were going to lose this game,” Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk said about his team, which trailed by 11 points with under seven minutes to play. “I can’t say that about every game. We had the right guys playing hard and staying positive. I really liked how our guys were talking during our timeouts and they stayed together.”

Joining Shumate in double digits for Toledo were sophomore Dante Maddox Jr. (19 pts.), junior RayJ Dennis (17 pts.), senior Setric Millner Jr. (16 pts.) and sophomore Ra’Heim Moss (10 pts.).

In addition to make all nine of his free-throw attempts, Shumate grabbed a team-high nine rebounds with Moss and Millner Jr. collecting eight and seven boards, respectively.

Toledo shot 42.6 percent from the field, 42.9 percent (12-of-28) from three-point range and 80.0 percent (20-of-25) from the free-throw line. UT also tied its season low with four turnovers.

Toledo survived a shooting barrage from sophomore Emoni Bates, who topped Eastern Michigan (4-16, 1-6 MAC) with a career-high 43 points, the most points ever scored against the Rockets in Savage Arena. Miami’s Ron Harper scored 45 points vs. Ball State in the 1985 Mid-American Conference for the most points ever scored in a game in the facility.

“Emoni hit a lot of unbelievable, tough contested shots and you have to give him a lot of credit,” Kowalczyk said.

Toledo is back in action at home vs. arch-rival Bowling Green (10-10, 4-3 MAC) on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 2:00 p.m. The Falcons posted an 83-61 victory at Central Michigan tonight.
 
HOW IT HAPPENED

FIRST HALF

  • The game started slowly with both teams shooting just 2-of-8 from the floor in the opening minutes.
  • RayJ Dennis’ three-pointer at the 13:35 mark capped a 9-2 run that gave Toledo a 14-6 lead.
  • EMU’s Emoni Bates hit four three pointers in a two-minute span to give EMU an 18-17 lead with 10:29 left in the half.
  • A jumper by Dennis and a dunk from Setric Millner Jr. put Toledo up, 22-18, at the 8:31 mark.
  • Bates responded by hitting seven consecutive shots to give EMU a 33-26 lead four minutes later.
  • The Rockets closed out the half with a 10-2 run to take a 36-35 lead at the break.
  • Millner and Ra’Heim Moss scored 10 points apiece in the first 20 minutes, while Dennis added nine.
  • Bates scored EMU’s final 29 points of the half by connecting on 10-of-14 from the floor and 7-of-9 from three-point range.
     

SECOND HALF

  • EMU connected on 10 of its first 11 shots to start the half, giving the Eagles a 57-47 advantage with 12:08 to play. Noah Farrakhan had 10 (5-of-5 from the field) of Eastern’s 22 points in the run.
  • Toledo cut the lead to 57-54 with 10:45 left with a 7-0 spurt.
  • EMU countered with a 10-2 run to take its largest lead of the night, 67-56, with 6:51 to play.
  • Toledo countered with a 15-2 burst that was capped off by a four-point play from Dante Maddox Jr. with 4:04 left to give the Rockets a 71-69 lead.
  • JT Shumate knocked down 7-of-7 shots from the free-throw line over the next two minutes to extend Toledo’s lead to 80-77 with 50 seconds left.
  • After Bates hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 80-79, Maddox responded with a pair of his own with 24 seconds left to put the lead back to 82-79.
  • After Bates missed a contested three-pointer, Dennis sealed the victory for the Rockets with two more free throws.
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