OLEAN, N.Y. - Turning the ball over and giving up second-chance points are sure ways to get behind in a basketball game. Add those factors in with a hostile road crowd and the task at hand becomes even more difficult.
Toledo (5-1) couldn't overcome a sloppy first half and suffered its first loss of the season last night, falling 84-67 to St. Bonaventure (6-1).
The Rockets equaled their season average in turnovers in the first half alone with 14 as the Bonnies built a 41-34 halftime lead.
After the break, Toledo trimmed the lead to two points early on, but St. Bonaventure swingman Kevin Houston, who scored a game-high 20 points, drilled a 3-pointer and the Rockets never drew closer than four points the rest of the way.
The Bonnies closed the game with a 17-6 run to pull away.
“I don't think we were ready to play,” said Greg Stempin, who led the Rockets with 16 points. “We weren't valuing the ball and we didn't rebound the ball well.”
Toledo was outrebounded, 35-32, but 13-7 on the offensive end. The Bonnies translated that into a 14-4 edge on second-chance points.
The Rockets also turned the ball over 21 times to the Bonnies' 12.
“They manhandled us under the basket,” said Toledo coach Stan Joplin.
“I was really disappointed at how we came out. How we played in the first five games was nothing like what we did tonight.
“They outhustled us and got every loose ball.”
The Bonnies also attempted 30 free throws to the Rockets' 11, which had something to do with Toledo's lack of aggressiveness and something to do with the men in stripes.
“They had A-10 officials tonight; we'll have MAC officials next year so it'll even out,” said Joplin, whose team will host the Bonnies next season.
Entering the game ranked No. 1 in the RPI rankings, Joplin said his team might have got its first taste of being the hunted instead of the hunter.
“I don't think our guys know how to handle success yet,” Joplin said. “Our perimeter guys are still pretty young and I think learning is an ongoing process.
“This was a good game for us to be tested.”
“This was a wake-up call,” added Stempin.
Robierre Cullars and Terry Reynolds each added 13 points with Albert Wilson adding a season-high nine points.
St. Bonaventure forward Vidal Massiah tallied a career-high 15 points and played a big part in limiting Stempin's touches in the first half.
Stempin had only six points at halftime on 3-for-7 shooting.
“He doesn't have the quickest first step so I shied off him a bit and tried to make him drive,” Massiah said.
Peter Van Paassen and J.R. Bremer scored 14 apiece as four of the five St. Bonaventure starters hit double figures.
The Rockets get eight days to digest the loss before hosting Oakland on Dec. 16.
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