Toledo rallied from a six-point deficit with five-and-a-half minutes left to notch a come-from-behind 81-78 victory over Kent State (11-8, 2-4 MAC) on Sunday night in front of 5,611 fans inside Savage Arena. The victory improved the Rockets' record to 17-2 overall and 5-1 in league play and also kept UT perfect in 10 home dates this season.
Junior guard Justin Drummond topped Toledo in scoring for the second-straight contest as he tallied 15 points in 24 minutes of action. He was joined in double figures by junior forward J.D. Weatherspoon (14 pts.), junior guard Julius "Juice" Brown (14 pts.) and senior guard Rian Pearson (11 pts.).
Pearson also grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season and 16th of his Rocket career. His work on the boards helped the Rockets register a 37-34 advantage on the glass.
Brown dished out seven assists to help UT post an impressive 15 assist/seven turnover ratio as a team.
Toledo also received significant contributions from its freshman trio of center Zach Garber (8 pts., 5 reb.), guard Jonathan Williams (7 pts.) and guard Jordan Lauf (4 pts.). Garber came on in relief of sophomore center Nathan Boothe, who was forced to the bench due to foul trouble.
Senior forward Darren Goodson led Kent State with a game-high 17 points with junior guard Derek Jackson and Kris Brewer tallying 16 and 14 points, respectively.
The tightly-played contest saw 13 lead changes and 12 instances where the score was tied.
Pearson's three-point play brought Toledo within 67-66 with 4:34 left and Drummond knocked down a pair of free throws to knot the score at 68-68 with 3:59 remaining. A Weatherspoon slam put the Rockets ahead to stay, 72-70, with 2:14 to play and a Drummond dunk and ensuing free throw gave UT some breathing room, 77-72, with 1:02 on the clock.
Jackson then hit a pair of treys to keep the Golden Flashes within striking distance but Toledo was able to hold off its visitors to improve its record to 7-0 in games decided by four points or less.
The Rockets will now hit the road this week for a pair of contests beginning with a 7:00 p.m. matchup on Wednesday, Jan. 29 vs. Miami (8-9, 4-2 MAC) in Oxford, OH. Toledo will then visit Ohio University (14-5, 4-2 MAC) on Saturday, Feb. 1 in a 1:00 p.m. tilt that will be televised on ESPNU.