Toledo: A Force To Be Reckoned With
With the Toledo Rocket’s 81-78 victory over the Kent State Golden Flashes, Toledo moved to 17-2 on the season.
The Rockets aren’t getting much attention this year, but they should be. If it wasn’t for a two-game stretch at the change of the calendar year, Toledo would be one of four unbeaten teams in college basketball. After starting out the season 12-0, Toledo suffered a 10-point loss to the Kansas Jayhawks and were upset on the road by the Western Michigan Broncos. Toledo has won five in a row since the last loss and shows no signs of changing that anytime soon.
Toledo has a solid resume up to this point, including wins over the Boston College Eagles and the Akron Zips. The Rockets victory against Akron is the only game that the Zips have lost in MAC play this season.
The Rockets have a talented group of players that would be a tough matchup for just about anybody. All five starters average over ten points a game to lead a balanced attack, and four of the five average over four rebounds per game. The opposition can’t be beat by shutting down a single player, because everyone contributes about equally. In addition to that, each player can beat the opposition in multiple ways.
This was the case against Kent State. The Golden Flashes held leading scorer Rian Pearson to 11 points, but three other Rockets toped 14 in the game. Justin Drummond led the way with 15, while J.D. Witherspoon and Julius Brown both scored 14. Pearson made up for scoring below his average though, grabbing a team-high 10 rebounds from his guard position. The fifth starter, Nathan Boothe, didn’t reach is double digit average, but was key down the stretch, scoring four of his points in the last five minutes as the Rockets regained the lead for good.
Add in the fact that the Rockets bench has experience, size, and versatility, and Toledo becomes a very dangerous team. As the season comes to a close, watch for Toledo to be at the top of the MAC and be in position to be a bracket buster come March.