Rockets Fall to Michigan, 90-80, in NIT First Round


         ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Seniors Setric Millner, Jr. and JT Shumate combined for 37 points but it wasn’t enough to overcome a hot-shooting Michigan team as the Rockets fell to the Wolverines, 90-80, in first-round NIT action at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor Tuesday night.
        Toledo (27-8) led by as many as nine points in the first half but could not stop Michigan in the second half. The Wolverines connected on 15-of-23 (65.2%) in the final 20 minutes, including 7-of-11 (63.6%) from the three-point range. Michigan shot 32-of-55 (58.2%) from the floor for the game and 13-of-23 (56.5%) from three-point range.
        “Coming in, I thought we had an opportunity to win this game,” said Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk. “Michigan is a tremendous Big Ten program. I thought they would have to play really well to beat us, and they did. I’ve seen a lot of film on Michigan in the last 48 hours. That’s the best they’ve played in quite some time.”
        Millner Jr. led Toledo with 19 points on 8-of-17 from the field. Shumate added 18 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore guard Ra’Heim Moss chipped in with 15 points. Junior guard RayJ Dennis scored 13 points and added a team-high eight assists. Toledo shot 32-of-73 (43.8%) from the field, making 8-of-24 from three-point range.
        Toledo came out gunning in the first half, making seven of its first nine shots to take a 27-18 lead midway through the first half. Michigan rallied to take the lead late in the half, but Shumate sent Toledo into the locker room with a 42-40 lead with a three-pointer. Michigan made its first five shots of the second half, though, to take a 53-44 lead and the Rockets were never able to re-gain the lead.
        Toledo ends its season with 27 wins, tied for the most in school history with the 2013-14 team.
         “We had a very successful season. A historic season.” said Kowlaczyk.  “Look at the history that was made. There was a lot of first times. Twenty-seven wins tied our ’13-14 team for the most wins. Seventeen wins in a row kind of blew away the old record.
        “I have tremendous pride in our season. Tremendous pride.”
1st Half

  •  Toledo got off to a roaring start, jumping out to a 6-0 lead behind a pair of Ra’Heim Moss layups.
  •  After Michigan pulled to within one, JT Shumate knocked down a three-pointer and Moss hit another driving layup to give Toledo a 16-10 lead and force the Wolverines to call timeout at the 15:40 mark.
  •  An 8-2 Michigan run tied the score at the 13:41 mark, but Toledo answered with a 9-0 run that was capped by a RayJ Dennis fast-break layup that gave the Rockets a 27-18 lead with 10:54 left.
  •  Michigan punched right back, using a 9-1 run to cut the UT lead to 28-27 at the 7:52 media timeout.
  •  The teams traded baskets until a dunk by Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson gave the Wolverines their first lead of the game, 35-33, with 3:38 on the clock.
  •  Shumate beat the halftime clock with a three-pointer to help Toledo regain the lead at the break, 42-40.
  •  Shumate led the Rockets with 11 points on 4-of-5 from the floor and 3-of-3 from long range. Moss added nine points on 4-of-4 shooting.
  •  After making seven of its first nine shots, Toledo ended up shooting 17-of-36 (47.2%) from the field in the first 20 minutes. Michigan hit 17-of-32 (53.1%) but committed eight turnovers.

2nd Half

  •  Michigan made its first five shots in an 11-0 run to jump out to a 53-44 lead to start the half.
  •  Dennis cut the lead to 55-49 with a three-pointer but Michigan responded with 6-2 run capped by a Joey Baker three-pointer to extend the lead to 61-51 with 13:51 left.
  •  Moss made back-to-back triples and Setric Millner Jr. hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 64-59 at the 10:27 media timeout.
  •  Two free throws by AJ Edu brought Toledo even closer, 70-67, but the Wolverines then connected on three straight buckets to push their margin to 78-69 with 4:41 left.
  •  A Millner Jr. jumper with 2:45 left cut the lead to 82-75, but the Rockets would get no closer the rest of the way.


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Written by ToledoBuzz Staff

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