MT. PLEASANT, Mich. – Freshman C Nathan Boothe scored a career-high 19 points and junior G Rian Pearson registered his 13th career double-double (18 pts., 12 reb.) to lead Toledo to a 73-64 triumph at Central Michigan on Saturday evening in McGuirk Arena.
The victory kept the Rockets (12-11, 8-4 MAC) in a first-place tie with Western Michigan (16-9, 8-4 MAC) in the Mid-American Conference's West Division. The Broncos posted a 66-58 home victory over Northern Illinois tonight.
Joining Boothe and Pearson in double figures were sophomore G Julius Brown (13 pts., game-high eight asst., six reb.) and senior G Dominique Buckley (10 pts., 2 steals).
Senior G Kyle Randall topped the Chippewas with 21 points, with freshman G Chris Fowler (12 pts.) and freshman F Blake Hibbitts (11 pts.) joining him in double figures.
Toledo shot 45.5 percent from the field, including 53.8 percent in the second half, while limiting the Chippewas to a 33.3 shooting mark. UT also held a 39-32 advantage on the boards and produced a positive assist/turnover ratio with 12 helpers and 11 miscues.
Boothe ignited the Rockets' quick start to the second half with his second three-point field goal of the season to snap a 33-33 tie and put UT ahead to stay. Toledo then gained some breathing room by scoring 10 straight points to take a 52-39 advantage with 9:11 to play.
The Chippewas rallied to within 53-47 on Hibbitts' trey with 6:49 remaining, but junior G Reese Holliday answered with a long-distance bomb of his own a minute later for a 56-47 lead.
Fowler knocked down two free throws at the 3:38 mark to cut UT's cushion to 58-53, but junior F Matt Smith drilled another big trey for the Rockets with 3:22 to play for a 61-53 advantage. Toledo then hit 7-of-10 free throws in the final 1:10 to secure the win.
Toledo is now idle until Saturday, Feb. 23 when it hosts Southland Conference foe McNeese State in a non-conference contest in Savage Arena.