YPSILANTI – Senior G Dominique Buckley exploded for 17 second-half points to lead Toledo to a 78-67 triumph over Eastern Michigan (14-17, 7-9 MAC), enabling the Rockets to finish in a first-place tie in the West Division with Western Michigan (19-11, 10-6 MAC).
UT finished its 2012-13 campaign with a 15-13 overall record and a 10-6 mark in league play. Toledo, which registered its first victory in Ypsilanti since 2007 for its third consecutive win over the Eagles, also recorded its second-straight winning season and notched its most conference victories since posting a 14-2 ledger in the 2006-07 campaign.
In his final game in a Rocket uniform, Buckley tied his career highs with 21 points and five three-point field goals and his season best with five assists. Buckley was a part of a UT backcourt that dominated the contest with sophomore G Julius Brown tallying his fourth-career double-double (19 pts., career-high 12 asst.) and junior G Rian Pearson contributing 18 points. Also scoring in double figures was junior F Matt Smith with 12 points.
Senior G Derek Thompson led Eastern Michigan with 25 points with junior F Glenn Bryant tallying 15 points and eight rebounds.
Toledo shot 50.9 percent from the field, including a 9-of-24 effort (37.5 percent) behind the three-point arc. UT limited the Eagles to a 33.3 percent shooting mark in the second half and a 41.5 mark for the game.
The Rockets fell behind early, 18-8, eight minutes in before tying the score at 26-26 following four straight points from Buckley. EMU then reeled off nine consecutive points though before a Brown trey and Pearson layup put UT down 35-31 entering halftime.
Buckley and Smith opened the second half on fire by scoring 19 of UT's first 21 points in the second stanza to give the Rockets a 52-41 cushion with 13:08 to play. Brown's jumper at the 10:16 mark provided UT with its largest lead 58-41. Buckley then hit two more bombs with six minutes left to keep the Rockets' lead from dwindling after Daylen Harrison's trey had cut EMU's deficit to 10 points.