Rolling Rockets close out Miami 2022-23
By MIKE SMITH
CLEVELAND, OH -- The Toledo Rockets made it 16 straight wins Thursday as the MAC Tournament's top seed knocked off No. 8 seed Miami 91-75 to open quarterfinal action at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. With the win, UT will move on to face Ohio, which beat Ball State 90-70, in a Friday (5 p.m. ET) semifinal matchup.
Toledo, which averages a MAC-best 85-9 ppg, was on target early, connecting on 62.1 percent from the field on the way to 48 first half points. The RedHawks (12-20) managed 33 points in the first stanza and were unable to pull within single digits after intermission. ... CONTINUE . . .
Typically, Toledo (26-6) had a balanced scoring attack. Four players reached double figures and two others were within two points of that plateau. Sedric Millner Jr. and E.J. Farmer led the way with 19 points, combining to hit 13-of-17 from the floor and four-of-six on treys. Farmer, who also hit 8-of-10 at the line, did his damage in 25 minutes off the bench.
JT Shumate knocked down 7-of-10 shots on the way to 17 points, while recently crowned MAC Player of the Year RayJ Dennis recorded 15 points. Dante Maddox Jr. and Raheem Moss added a combined 17 points to the cause for Toledo, which finished at 58.2 percent from the field.
Miami, which earned a spot in the eight-team field by winning four of its final five regular season games, was led by Morgan Safford with 21 points. Anderson Mirambeaux tallied 16 points, while Julian Lewis (13) and Mekhi Lairy (12) combined for 25 points.
The RedHawks were near perfect at the free throw line, hitting 21-of-25 attempts. Toledo, meanwhile, went 19-of-26 at the stripe.
Rebounds (UT 31-30) and turnovers (UT 10-12) were close, so the 16-point win primarily came down to shooting. Toledo finished with eight more field goals, including two more treys. Miami connected on 24-of-57 (42.1%) overall.
Toledo scored the game's first eight points and led all the way. Mabry knocked down a three at 17:18 for Miami's first score, but that would be his only bucket. After earning a spot on the MAC's All-Freshman team Wednesday, Mabry injured an ankle at 9:17 of the first half and did not return.
The Rockets were already up 19-12 when they went on an 8-0 run. That gave UT a 15-point cushion (27-12). They went into halftime with a 15-point advantage and finished with a 16-point victory.
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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.