FORT MYERS, Fla. — Toledo’s 18-1 burst to open the second half propelled the Rockets to their first victory of the season on Wednesday, an 82-69 win over Samford in Alico Arena.
The contest was played as part of the Battle 4 Atlantis on the Mainland being held at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Toledo (1-3) will face the host Eagles today at 7 p.m.
“We played much better in the second half,” said Toledo coach Tod Kowalczyk. “Our press led to some easy baskets at the start of the half and we also made some threes. I thought our shot selection in the first half was good but we didn’t play with the fire and intensity that we needed to.”
Julius Brown topped the Rockets offensively with 25 points and added six rebounds. He was joined in double figures by Rian Pearson (17 points, five steals) and Dominique Buckley (15 points, eight rebounds).
Brown’s and Buckley’s performance on the glass help UT dominate the boards with a 44-28 advantage. Reese Holliday had eight boards and a season-high nine points.
“They didn’t guard me that well on ball screens today and that allowed me to get to the rim and penetrate,” Brown said. “I want to do whatever I can to help our team win and tonight I was able to get to the free-throw line.”
Brown and Buckley keyed the Rockets’ quick start to the second stanza with a pair of threes for a 37-31 lead to force a Bulldog timeout two minutes after intermission. UT increased its cushion to 47-32 on another Buckley three-pointer.
COLORADO ST. 62
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The Rockets led by as many as 10 points early in the second half before their lead whittled to one.
Lecretia Smith took over from there in a win Tuesday night. The senior guard scored seven of her 11 points during a decisive 14-2 run, capped by her only 3-point attempt of the game.
Smith made 5 of 6 field goals, but was at her best late. The Rams (2-2) closed within 48-47 with 10 minutes, 58 seconds left after a LaDeyah Forte layup.
Naama Shafir and Riley McCormick also scored 11 points for the Rockets (2-1), who shot 41 percent from the field (25 for 61) and 41.7 percent on free throws (5 for 12). They shot 45.8 percent from the 3-point line (11 for 24) to earn the road win.