MAC West Division Leaders Toledo & Ball State Square Off on Sund - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

MAC West Division Leaders Toledo & Ball State Square Off on Sunday in Muncie

Posted: Updated:

Toledo (20-2, 8-1 MAC) looks to maintain its torrid pace on Sunday, Feb. 10 when it battles Ball State (11-11, 8-1 MAC). Tip-off time is set for 2:00 p.m. in James A. Worthen Arena.

The Rockets, who are a conference-best No. 46 nationally in the latest RPI rankings, are deadlocked with the Cardinals for the best overall mark in the league, one game ahead of Central Michigan (13-9, 7-2 MAC) in the ultra-competitive MAC West Division.

The Midnight Blue & Gold, which is 11-1 away from Savage Arena this season, enters Sunday's MAC spotlight encounter in the midst of an eight-game win streak following Wednesday's 80-49 triumph at Miami.

UT utilized a 38-2 run over the course of both halves against the MAC East Division leading RedHawks to secure its 18th straight victory against a cross-division opponent. The Rockets ended the first half with a 24-2 burst and scored the opening 14 points after the intermission to build an insurmountable cushion.

Senior Kyle Baumgartner paced four Rockets in double figures with a season-high 17 points and a season-best nine rebounds. Baumgartner knocked down a career-high five triples to tally double digits for the second time this season.

Joining Baumgartner in double digits were junior Andola Dortch (15 pts.), senior Lecretia Smith (10 pts.) and sophomore Inma Zanoguera (10 pts.).

Dortch added a collegiate-best eight steals, senior Yolanda Richardson ripped down 10 rebounds and senior Naama Shafir dished out seven assists to help UT achieve the 20-victory mark for a fourth-straight year.

The Rockets shot 46.2 percent (30-of-65) from the floor, including a sparkling 41.7 percent (10-of-24) from beyond the arc, to score at least 80 points for the third time in 2012-13.

The Midnight Blue & Gold also posted a 43-36 edge on the boards and totaled more assists (17) than turnovers (13) for the 11th time this season. On the defensive end of the court, the Rockets forced Miami into committing 25 turnovers and translated them into 23 points.

Miami was limited to 29.2 percent (14-of-48) from the field and posted its lowest scoring output of the season.

For the season, the Rockets are fueled offensively by the quartet of Shafir, Dortch, Richardson and Zanoguera, who are averaging 11.7, 11.7, 9.2 and 8.9 ppg, respectively. This group accounts for 63.4 percent of the team's scoring.

Toledo will face a red-hot BSU squad that has won its last six contests, most recently claiming a 68-61 victory vs. Central Michigan on Thursday. Nathalie Fontaine led three Cardinals in double figures with a game-high 23 points. Katie Murphy added 15 points with a team-high 10 boards.

BSU features a balanced attack with six players averaging at least 7.0 points paced by Fontaine's 13.2 ppg and 6.2 rpg. The Cardinals are 6-4 at home this season.

Toledo leads the all-time series with Ball State, 49-18, winning the last six games against its division foe by an average of 13.3 ppg (65.3-52.0).

A season ago, UT won both contests against BSU, 63-48 at home (Jan. 19) and 70-65 on the road (Feb. 28) to sweep the regular-season series for a second consecutive season.

Toledo also holds a 21-11 edge in games played in Worthen Arena, but has lost six of the last eight matchups in Muncie.

Sunday's MAC West Division showdown will showcase two of the premier defensive teams in the league. The Rockets currently lead the MAC in scoring defense (49.7 ppg), as well as ranking fourth in overall field goal percentage defense (35.3%) and sixth in three-point field goal percentage defense (31.8%) in league contests. The Cardinals sit second in overall field goal percentage defense (33.4%) and three-point field goal percentage defense (26.2%) and third in scoring defense (53.3 ppg).    

Following Sunday's contest, Toledo will entertain Kent State on Saturday, Feb. 16. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. in Savage Arena.