The victory moved the Rockets (10-6, 2-1 MAC) into a first-place tie with the Broncos (10-6, 2-1 MAC) and Ball State (11-5, 2-1 MAC) in the MAC's West Division.
Senior guard Tre'Shaun Fletcher . . .
Fletcher and Knapke grabbed a team-high eight rebounds apiece to help Toledo win the battle of the boards, 38-34, for the fifth time in its last six contests.
Senior guard Thomas Wilder led Western Michigan with 28 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals. Wilder scored WMU's first 14 points, and Toledo held the remainder of the Broncos scoreless for nearly the first 15 minutes of the game. Bryce Moore joined Wilder in double figures, registering 16 points.
After registering a 44.0 field-goal percentage in the opening 20 minutes, the Rockets shot a scorching 72.7 percent in the second stanza to give them a 50.0 FG percentage or higher for the fifth time in their last five outings. UT also finished one three-point field goal shy of its season high by knocking down 13-of-23 attempts (56.5 percent) behind the arc.
Toledo excelled on the defensive end as well, limiting the Broncos to a season-low 32.9 shooting mark and 4-of-16 totals (25.0 percent) from three-point range.
Jackson and Fletcher each hit a trio of three-pointers in the game's early stages to help the Rockets expand their lead to 27-9 at the 8:45 mark of the first half. Western Michigan reduced its deficit to as low as eight points before Toledo took a 36-28 lead at intermission.
The Broncos pulled to within six points, 44-38, with 14:02 remaining but Toledo put the game away with a 14-4 surge. Knapke ignited the outburst with a wide-open three, and Fletcher then converted a 3-point play off a dunk. Sanford and Fletcher capped off the game-deciding run with a pair of 3-pointers.
Toledo will now hit the road for its next two contests, beginning with a trip to Mt. Pleasant, Mich. to battle Central Michigan (12-4, 1-2 MAC). Tip-off time from McGuirk Arena is set for 4:30 p.m.
Western Michigan hosts Ball State Saturday (4:30 p.m. ET).
(Courtesy of UT Athletics)