Eastern Michigan vs Toledo

Toledo beats Eastern Michigan 59-44 in MAC semis


CLEVELAND (AP) They've already set a school record for wins, and revived a dormant program.

The Toledo Rockets aren't done, though.

Not now. Not so close to making history.

Rian Pearson scored 18 points and Justin Drummond hit a big 3-pointer down the stretch as Toledo moved into the Mid-American Conference tournament championship with a 59-44 win over Eastern Michigan on Friday night.

The second-seeded Rockets (27-5) will play top-seed Western Michigan in Saturday night's title game for the MAC's automatic spot in the NCAA field. A win would put Toledo back in the NCAA tourney for the first time since 1980.

''We made big plays against, let's face it, the best defense in our league,'' said Toledo coach Ted Kowalczyk. ''That zone is good.''

The Rockets were able to do just enough against Eastern Michigan's swarming, 2-3 zone and secured their first trip to the MAC title game since 2006.

Nathan Boothe added 13 points and Drummond had 11 and 10 rebounds.

With the Rockets leading 51-42, Drummond nailed his 3 from the right corner with 3:51 left. Toledo's bench and fans erupted, knowing they were just minutes away from finalizing a date with Western Michigan, which overcame an 18-point deficit in the second half to knock out Akron in the other semifinal.

Toledo and Western Michigan split their two meetings during the regular season. The Rockets lost 87-76 on Jan. 8 at WMU, but rebounded to win the matchup in overtime at home 96-85 on March 1.

''For the MAC, these have been the two best teams all year,'' Kowalczyk said. ''I'm looking forward to it.''

Glenn Bryant scored 11 for sixth-seeded Eastern Michigan (21-14), which won three games this week just to make the semifinals. The Eagles shot only 32 percent and scored 16 points - on 23 percent shooting- in the second half.

Eastern Michigan coach Rob Murphy acknowledged playing four games in five nights took a toll on his players.

''Our guys fought all week,'' Murphy said. ''I'm not making any fatigue excuses, but I thought late in the second half it kicked in on us.''

Eastern Michigan's Darell Combs hit a 3-pointer as the horn sounded at halftime, pulling the Eagles within 32-28 and sending them bouncing from the floor and toward their locker room.

Combs hit another 3 five minutes into the second half, and EMU, which had rallied to beat Buffalo on Thursday night, appeared to have Toledo in trouble. But the Eagles were far too inconsistent on offense and struggled to get off a decent shot, let alone score. Their point total was a season-low.

Still, the Eagles were within 45-40 when Toledo's Julius Brown hit a 3-pointer to make it 48-40. Drummond's big shot came just a few moments later and put EMU away for good.

''We all got into a rhythm at the end of the game when it mattered,'' Drummond said. ''My shot gave us a little cushion and just got everyone going.''

Directly to the championship.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
Eastern Michigan (21-14)281644
Toledo (27-5) «322759

Related Video

November 17, 2017
If LiAngelo wasn't a 'Ball' (1:23)
November 17, 2017
Brandon Goodwin's journey to stardom
November 16, 2017
Michael Porter Jr. injury update
November 16, 2017
Tim Jankovich talks staying out of foul trouble

CBSSports Shop

Men's Nike White Villanova Wildcats 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt

Villanova Wildcats 2016 National Champs
Get the Locker Room Gear!
Shop Now

EastConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Miami (Ohio)0-03-028
Kent St.0-02-0294
Bowling Green0-01-1294
WestConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
E. Michigan0-03-073
N. Illinois0-01-0294
C. Michigan0-02-1152
W. Michigan0-02-2280
Ball St.0-01-2272
Other games
ILL 63 Final
STBN 71 Final
STL 68
FSU 51 Final
UVA 64
MIZZ 49 Final
FLA 72
OHST 71 Final
NEB 67
PITT 80 Final
UNC 75
RICH 53 Final
VCU 71
MINN 57 Final
HOU 65 Final
LOU 94
IAST 94 Final
KAN 83
NCST 66 Final
SYR 63
NW 51 Final
COLO 43 Final
UCONN 58 Final
CLEM 62 Final
SDSU 59 Final
XAV 78 Final
BOISE 67 Final