Sophomore Laytwan Porter added 12 points, seniors Dontel Highsmith and Aaric Armstead each had 11 points and sophomore Levi Bradley chipped in 10 as NIU shot 48.3 percent (28-of-58) from the field, including 50 percent (7-of-14) from beyond the arc.
NIU (13-8, 5-3 MAC) outrebounded . . .
“It was a team win,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. “When you have five guys in double figures, that means we were sharing the basketball and everyone was making big plays. I thought our guys were locked in to the most important key for the day, which was winning the game. I challenged them to leave this building still in first place and that is what we are doing.”
A bucket by Highsmith gave the Huskies an early three-point lead but Toledo answered with an 11-2 burst as the Rockets took a 14-8 lead with just over 13 minutes to play in the opening half.
Toledo’s lead grew to as much as 11 until an old-fashioned three-point play from Maric sparked a 7-2 burst for the Huskies that cut the Rocket lead back to a half-dozen just past the midway point of the half. Highsmith and freshman Justin Thomas each added baskets during the run as NIU trimmed the Toledo lead to 24-18.
Toledo (11-10, 4-4 MAC) led 28-20 until eight-straight from the Huskies pulled NIU even. Maric opened the burst with a basket and back-to-back trifectas from Porter and sophomore Austin Pauga evened the contest with five minutes left before the intermission.
After Toledo reclaimed the lead by a pair, Porter canned a corner triple, followed by a bucket from Maric as the Huskies took a 37-34 lead. The NIU advantage grew to as many as five before Toledo closed the half with a layup and the Huskies took a 40-37 lead into the break.
Toledo made a free throw to open the scoring in the second half but a triple from Armstead and an old-fashioned three-point play from Highsmith extended the NIU lead to eight, 46-38, with 17:47 to play.
NIU’s lead grew to nine, but the Rockets trimmed the Huskie advantage back to just four, 56-52.
The Huskies responded with the next five as Maric made a free throw and Highsmith contributed a pair of baskets -- a 15-foot jumper and a layup, as the NIU lead grew back to 61-52 with just under eight to play.
After Toledo trimmed the NIU lead back to just five, Armstead hit a pair of jumpers as the Huskie lead climbed back to nine, 70-61, with just under three minutes to play.
Toledo once again had an answer, scoring the next eight to cut the NIU lead to just one with 41 seconds to play.
Porter knocked down a triple and the NIU lead grew to 73-69, but Toledo answered right back with a triple of its own to cut the lead back to one with under 20 seconds to play.
After the Huskies split a pair of free throws to go back up by a pair. Maric was whistled for a foul with five seconds left. However, the Rockets missed both free throws and NIU grabbed the rebound. The Huskies missed the front end of a one-and-one but Toledo, trying to race the ball up the floor, stepped out of bounds as the Huskies survived for a 74-72 victory; their third-straight win at Toledo.
Jaelan Sanford scored a game-high 29 points to lead Toledo; Jonathan Williams added 21 for the Rockets.
NIU will return home on Tuesday when the Huskies host MAC-leading Akron. Game time between the Huskies and Zips is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Toledo visits Ball State in the first of two road games next week. Game time is 7 p.m. ET).