PEORIA, Ill. – Toledo concluded its non-conference schedule on Saturday afternoon with a 78-66 loss to Bradley (9-4) in Carver Arena.
Junior Marreon Jackson led the Rockets with 14 points and a game-high six assists. Seniors Willie Jackson and Luke Knapke scored 13 points apiece, while junior Spencer Littleson contributed 10 points.
Knapke grabbed nine rebounds to lead Toledo on the boards, while Willie Jackson and Littleson collected eight and seven caroms, respectively. Littleson also collected four steals and didn't come out of the contest until the final minute.
Senior guard Darrell Brown scored a season-high 29 points to lead the Braves to their 12th straight home victory.
Toledo shot 37.5 percent from the field and 7-of-29 from three-point range, while Bradley posted a 41.1 shooting mark and was 5-of-15 from behind the arc. The Braves enjoyed a decided advantage at the charity stripe, knocking down 27-of-32 free throws compared to the Rockets' 11-of-19 totals.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Neither team led by more than four points until a 7-2 Bradley spurt put the Rockets down 18-11 with 12:25 remaining in the opening half.
Baskets from Marreon Jackson, Spencer Littleson and Willie Jackson made it a one-point contest, 18-17, at the 8:44 mark.
A 9-0 Braves' rally gave the hosts a 29-19 advantage six minutes before halftime.
Gavin Bizeau's trey and Keshan Saunders' layup brought Toledo within 34-31 just over two minutes before intermission.
Marreon Jackson's two free throws cut Bradley's cushion to 36-33 in the final minute, but the Braves took a 38-33 advantage into the locker room.
Bradley started the second half strong, with Darrell Brown extending the Braves' lead to 45-35 less than two minutes in.
Toledo's deficit remained at eight or higher until Littleson's trey cut BU's lead to 55-49 with nine minutes remaining.
Luke Knapke picked up his fourth foul on Bradley's next possession leading to a 5-0 burst from the Braves.
Toledo rallied once again, as Dylan Alderson and Marreon Jackson buried back-to-back treys for a 60-55 deficit with 6:29 left.
Bradley's Nate Kannell didn't let the Rockets come any closer though, as he connected on a three-pointer, followed by a layup for a 65-55 lead.
The closest Toledo came down the stretch was eight points.
The Rockets (8-5) will open league play on Friday, Jan. 3 at Ball State (7-6).
Editor-Publisher Mike Smith
Mike grew up in Mid-American Conference football and basketball territory and returned there after military service. He has been covering MAC football and men's basketball for much of the last several decades.