Fouls plague Rockets in title game loss


FORT MYERS, Fla. — Rian Pearson poured in a season-high 28 points, but Toledo couldn’t overcome foul trouble on Thursday in a 72-66 setback at Florida Gulf Coast.

The contest was the championship game in the Battle 4 Atlantis on the Mainland tournament.

“Rian had a great game tonight but it really hurt us not having an inside presence due to our foul trouble,” said Toledo coach Tod Kowalczyk after Pearson exploded for 20 first-half points. “His shot selection in the first half was really good, and he really put us in a good position.”

Four Rockets finished the contest with four fouls. That foul trouble resulted in the host Eagles hitting 16-of-28 free throws compared to the Rockets’ 9-of-10.

Julius Brown tallied 12 points and was the only other Rocket to score in double figures. Pearson also grabbed a team-high six rebounds, but couldn’t help UT overcome a 38-27 deficit on the boards.

Sherwood Brown led the Eagles with 22 points with Eric McKnight contributing 15 points, seven rebounds, and three blocked shots.

“I thought we got complacent at halftime and that’s something we have to work on,” Kowalczyk said.