Justin Ingram was a starter in his first University of Toledo basketball game, and he was a starter last night in his 100th career game.
One thing hasn't changed over that four-season stretch. When UT needs someone to step up, Ingram, the Rockets' senior captain, is the man for the job.
Ingram scored 16 points and dished out six assists last night as Toledo beat the University of Detroit 73-63 at Savage Hall.
Ingram went the distance in the first half, playing the final 17 1/2 minutes at the point after Kashif Payne picked up two quick fouls. He ended the half with a buzzer-beating, scoop layup that sent the Rockets to the locker room with plenty of momentum and then made back-to-back plays in the second half as UT (4-5) opened up a 16-point lead.
"I give Justin a lot more freedom because in big situations he wants the ball," said UT coach Stan Joplin. "He just makes plays."
If Ingram ever needs any help in the "clutch" department, Tyrone Kent appears to be a money player in training. At one point late in the game, it was advanced training.
After Detroit (2-8) had pulled within nine at 63-54 with a little more than four minutes remaining, Kent went high above the rim to slam home an offensive rebound to the delight of a crowd of 3,824.
After UD's Jon Goode nailed a 3-pointer at the other end, Kent took all the wind out of the Titans' sails by answering with a deep trey of his own.
Kent finished with career highs of 17 points - three of his four field goals came from 3-point range - and eight rebounds. The latter figure led the Rockets to a 37-26 edge on the boards
"He's been phenomenal the last couple games," Ingram said of Kent, a sophomore. "We know Tyrone can score, and we know how well he can shoot. Now, with teams focusing on Keonta [Howell], Tino [Valencia], and me, it's time for him to step up and shine."
Ingram, of course, has been doing that for a long time.
Last night, UT's shooting guard had to shift gears when Payne took an early seat.
"I always have an aggressive mindset, but when I switch to the point I have to start thinking for the other four guys on the court, too," Ingram said. "I have to make sure they're involved and I have to keep the offense flowing."
A 3-pointer and a fast-break dunk by Howell, who had 11 points, gave UT some breathing room at the end of the first half. But Ingram's layup off an inbounds play just before the buzzer was a big boost that carried over into the second half.
After Jonathan Amos and Ridley Johnson scored four straight baskets, and after Valencia (11 points) scored a three-point play off an assist from Payne, a steal by Ingram led to a free throw by Kent. Ingram then followed with a fade-away jumper to put UT ahead 59-44.
"Sixteen points, six assists, one turnover that's Justin," Joplin said before adding with a chuckle, "I know that having him around for the last 100 games has made me a better coach."
NOTES: The Rockets now lead the all-time series against Detroit 30-22, including a 19-6 edge in Toledo UT is 43-3 in non-conference home games under Joplin, who is in his 11th season as head coach Last night's win was the Rockets' 18th straight at home against nonleague competition In its previous five games, UT made only 56 of 90 free throws (.622). Last night, the Rockets were a season-high 22 of 27 (.815) from the line. UT backup center Jerrah Young had six rebounds and a blocked shot in 12 minutes of playing time The Rockets leave this morning for El Paso, where they will play in the Sun Bowl Tournament. UT faces Drake (7-2) in the opening round on Friday and either UTEP or Jackson State on Saturday Providing Howell and Valencia take the court against Drake, they will join Ingram in having played in 100 career games.
Contact Dave Hackenberg at:
or 419-724-6398.31.55723 -86.30142