Reigning MAC West Division Co-Champions Toledo & Eastern Michiga - Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

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Reigning MAC West Division Co-Champions Toledo & Eastern Michigan Square Off in Convocation Center on Wednesday

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YPSILANTI - Toledo (13-2, 1-1 MAC) will look to build off a hard-earned victory at Bowling Green when it travels to reigning Mid-American Conference Tournament champion Eastern Michigan (3-12, 1-1 MAC) on Wednesday, Jan. 16. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in the Convocation Center.

UT has been picked to capture its fourth-consecutive MAC West Division crown, while EMU is tabbed to finish third in the West.

The Rockets, who enter tonight's action deadlocked with EMU for third place in the MAC West Division, are coming off a hard-fought 48-38 triumph against the Falcons on Sunday.

UT was held to 33.3 percent (17-of-51) shooting from the field, but closed the cross-division contest with a 20-6 run to seal its fourth-straight regular-season victory over BGSU. The Rockets' defense smothered the BGSU shooters, holding the eight-time reigning MAC East Division champions to 11-of-49 (22.4 percent) shooting for their lowest field goal percentage of the season. The win also marked the ninth time the Rockets held an opponent under 40 points under fifth-year head coach Tricia Cullop.

Senior Naama Shafir scored a game-high 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting, with three rebounds, two steals and one assist.

Senior Lecretia Smith was the second-leading UT scorer with nine points and eight boards, while junior Andola Dortch and sophomore Inma Zanoguera grabbed nine caroms apiece. Senior Yolanda Richardson was held scoreless for the first time this season, but played well on the defensive end and posted a game-high three blocks.

For the season, the Rockets are fueled offensively by the quartet of Shafir, Dortch, Richardson and Zanoguera, who are averaging 13.4, 10.2, 9.2 and 8.9 ppg, respectively. In total, UT has six players averaging at least 5.2 points per game.

Toledo will face an EMU squad which has lost four of its last five contests, including a 77-51 setback at Central Michigan on Sunday. 2012-13 preseason All-MAC West Division honoree Natachia Watkins led the Eagles with 16 points and four steals off the bench.

EMU, which has lost its top two scorers for the season, features an offense paced by Watkins' 9.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.3 apg and 1.4 spg. The Eagles are 1-6 at home in 2012-13.

Toledo leads the all-time series, 41-28, but has lost four in a row and 13 of the last 20 games against its division nemesis, dating back to the 2003-04 season.

A year ago, Toledo dropped all three contests, 70-66 at home (Jan. 12), 54-33 in the Convocation Center (Feb. 21) and 59-57 in the MAC Tournament Semifinals in Quicken Loans Arena (March 9).

Following tomorrow's division showdown, the Rockets will host Buffalo on Saturday, Jan. 19. Tipoff from Savage Arena is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. and will be televised live on BCSN.