March 8, 2009
Box Score in PDF Format
TOLEDO, Ohio - Junior Najul Ervin recorded his first-career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, and redshirt freshman Michael Fakuade added 15 points and nine boards, but host Toledo edged the Northern Illinois men's basketball team, 74-69, in the Mid-American Conference regular-season finale at John F. Savage Arena Sunday afternoon.
The loss was NIU's (10-19, 5-11 MAC) second-straight, and clinched a winless record in regular-season MAC road games for the Huskies. Sophomore guards Darion "Jake" Anderson and Michael Patton also tallied double figures in scoring, scoring 13 and 15 points, respectively. Toledo was led by seniors Jonathan Amos (19 points) and Tyrone Kent (15), who scored a combined 34 points in their final game at Savage Hall.
NIU held a 37-33 rebounding advantage and shot nearly 45 percent (26-of-58) from the field, but Toledo (7-24, 5-11 MAC) scored 13 points off 17 NIU turnovers, and converted at nearly a 50 percent (29-of-59) field goal shooting clip.
Fakuade got the Huskies going offensively early, scoring four quick points, and NIU jumped out to a 7-1 lead just 2:10 into the contest. Toledo charged back, and claimed its first lead of the game, 16-14, after a layup by Justin Anyijong with 11:13 remaining in the opening half.
NIU countered with a 13-6 run, and took a 27-22 lead after Fakuade hit back-to-back free throws (6:10). Kent hit a jumper with 2:06 left in the opening stanza, and the Rockets jumped ahead again, 30-29. He added a three-pointer one possession later, and senior Anthony Byrd converted a layup with 1:06 left to provide the final scoring of the half, and Toledo took a 35-31 lead into the locker room at halftime. Fakuade blocked another layup attempt by Byrd as time expired to prevent further damage.
Toledo opened up a game-high nine-point (43-34) lead less than two minutes into the second half, but NIU answered with a 13-5 spree, and pulled within one, 48-47, with 11:09 remaining. The see-saw affair continued for the ensuing three minutes, before the Rockets jumped up by six, 62-56, with 5:46 left.
NIU made one more run, cutting the deficit to 66-63 with 2:30 remaining. Fakuade, Patton and Ervin all tallied field goals in the stretch. But Toledo finished the game on a 6-5 run, and secured the 74-69 win with Amos and Kent providing late field goals.
The Huskies will travel to Cleveland Monday morning for the First Energy MAC Men's Basketball Tournament. NIU garnered the No. 11 seed, and will take on sixth-seeded Kent State in the opening round Tuesday beginning at 2 p.m., at Quicken Loans Arena. The Golden Flashes edged the host Huskies in double-overtime, 86-83, on Feb. 10.