Tuesday, Dec 12, 2017
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Toledo men suffer first loss of the season at Syracuse

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse junior Frank Howard scored a career-high 25 points and the Orange topped the University of Toledo 72-64 on Wednesday night at the Carrier Dome.

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Toledo forwards Luke Knapke (30) and Nate Navigato, shown in a game earlier this season, each scored in double figures against Syracuse Wednesday.

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Four Rockets scored in double figures, led by Tre’Shaun Fletcher’s 19 points and 11 rebounds. Nate Navigato added 13 points, Luke Knapke scored 12, and Jaelan Sanford had 11.

Oshae Brissett scored 17 points as Syracuse (5-0) stayed unbeaten. Matthew Moyer added 11 points for the Orange.

“This was a great opportunity for our guys,” UT coach Tod Kowalczyk said. “It’s Syracuse. It’s an ACC team. It’s the Carrier Dome. Our guys have seen it on TV and now they got to experience it live. You really have a great respect for how hard they play defensively when you compete against them.

“We played with great heart and great character. I’m disappointed with not getting the win, but if we play like this the wins will come.”

Toledo trailed 33-32 at halftime after Sanford drilled a 3-pointer just before the buzzer.

After halftime, Toledo took a 35-33 lead on a Navigato 3-pointer with 19:18 left in the game. But Syracuse responded with an 11-0 run to stretch the lead back to nine points at 44-35 with 14:59 left.

The Rockets then scored the next six points to cut the lead back to 44-41 on a layup from Knapke, a 3-pointer by Fletcher and a free throw from Dylan Alderson.

But that was as close as Toledo would get the rest of the game and Syracuse led by as many as 14 points on the way to the win.

Toledo was outrebounded 50-31.and allowed 22 second-chance points on 16 offensive rebounds from Syracuse. Brissett led the rebounding charge for the Orange with 14 rebounds. The Orange also held a 26-10 edge in points in the paint.

Howard’s career night included a 9-of-20 mark from the field, 1-of-5 from the 3-point line and 6-of-6 from the free throw line.

The Rockets shot 33.3 percent from the field for the game, but struggled to a 24.1 percent mark from the field in the second half.

Fletcher was 5-of-6 on 3-pointers and 7-of-14 from the field, but missed all four of his free throw attempts.

“Tre’Shaun continues to provide us great leadership and toughness and just the way he talks and communicates on the floor has really been huge for our team,” Kowalczyk said.

The loss drops Toledo to 3-1 on the season. The Rockets are back in action on Friday with a game at Cornell.

Contact Brian Buckey at bbuckey@theblade.com419-724-6110, or on Twitter @BrianBuckey.

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