Toledo (21-4) at Bowling Green (11-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 20, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stroh Center (4,280) -- Bowling Green, Ohio. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: UT 12-0, BGSU 6-6. Away Record: UT 7-4, BGSU 4-7. Neutral Record: UT 2-0, BGSU 1-1. Conference Record: UT 9-3, BGSU 5-7. Series Record: Toledo leads, 85-79.
GAME NOTES: The Toledo Rockets hope to rebound as they collide with the Bowling Green Falcons for Mid-American Conference action at the Stroh Center.
Toledo suffered just its fourth setback of the season on Saturday, but the 21- point loss it experienced at the hands of the Eastern Michigan Eagles was also the widest margin of defeat the team has endured in 2013-14. Coach Tod Kowalczyk's squad dropped to a 9-3 MAC record and sits behind Western Michigan by a half-game in the East Division race entering Thursday's action. The Rockets' uptempo style of play has helped it score 81.7 ppg, which leads the MAC and ranks 15th nationally. While Toledo is also 36th among Division I programs in assists (15.3) and 45th in field goal percentage (.472), it is on the other end of the spectrum defensively, surrendering 74.q ppg, which is the second highest points per game allowed in the conference.
Coach Louis Orr's Falcons do not own as impressive of a resume as the visitors, but they do have some momentum thanks to their 66-64 decision over Ball State on Saturday. Bowling Green's win improved it to an 11-14 overall standing, including a 5-7 MAC record, and snapped a three-game losing streak. The victory was also the 100th for Orr with the program and also his 200th career win overall as a head coach. The Falcons prefer a slower paced contest as they are ranked second in the MAC in scoring defense (64.1 ppg) and also second to last in scoring offense (64 ppg). Their strong play on the defensive end helped them outscore Ball State, 18-8, in points off of turnovers their last time out.
Toledo owns an 85-79 all-time series lead over the Falcons. The Rockets downed Bowling Green, 83-76, when these schools met earlier this month at Toledo.
EMU found a way to stifle the Rockets, who managed to sink only 25.9 percent of their field-goal attempts including a 7-of-25 clip from beyond the arc. Toledo also finished with only nine assists against 15 turnovers, while the Eagles sank 46 percent of their shots from the floor. EMU also controlled the boards, 43-30, including a 25-10 advantage in the second half. Junior Julius Brown and freshman Jonathan Williams paced the Rockets with 13 points apiece and were the only Rockets to reach double figures. The contest marked the return of the suspended Justin Drummond, who finished with two points on 0- of-4 efficiency from the floor. Four different Rockets own double-digit scoring averages through 25 games with Brown narrowly leading the pack at 14.5 ppg to go along with a MAC-best 6.4 apg. Pearson is posting 14.3 ppg and Drummond also plays a vital role with 14.1 ppg
Spencer Parker spearheaded the charge for the Falcons in their win over BSU with a game-high 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field. Richaun Holmes tallied a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, Jehvon Clarke logged 11 points and seven assists and Cameron Black contributed eight points and 12 rebounds. BGSU needed every last point as the Cardinals nearly forced an overtime with a jumper just before the final buzzer. The Falcons have four players averaging double digit points thus far this year in MAC play. Jehvon Clarke (14.1), Richaun Holmes (13.1), Spencer Parker (13.1) and Anthony Henderson (11.7) are all averaging double figures in the team's 12 MAC games. Those four and Cameron Black have accounted for 89.4 percent of the Falcons' scoring this season.
BGSU's reliance on its starting five is alright if its first unit avoids foul trouble. The Rockets are a difficult team to slow down and their quick guards are experts when it comes to drawing contact. Toledo's awful showing versus EMU was most likely a fluke, but another tough defensive opponent may prevent it from returning to its usual success right away.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toledo 74, Bowling Green 65
02/20 10:18:34 ET