The victory snapped the Zips’ three-game winning streak and kept the Rockets in sole possession of first place in the MAC's West Division heading into Saturday evening's matchup at arch-rival Bowling Green.
Sanford, who was 1-of-11 from the field at one point, made 5-of-6 shots down the stretch as Toledo rallied for the win. After leading 31-20 early in the second half, Toledo (19-4, 7-3 MAC) trailed 36-31 with 12 minutes remaining. The Rockets outscored the Zips 32-16 the rest of the way to win their fourth consecutive game, and seventh of their last eight.
Senior forward Nate Navigato was the only other Rocket to score in double digits, finishing with 11 points, six rebounds and four assists in 33 minutes. Junior forward Willie Jackson led Toledo with eight rebounds and helped UT to a 45-42 advantage on the glass.
Toledo held Akron (13-9, 5-4 MAC) to just 18-of-64 (28.1%) from the floor. The Zips were led by Tyler Cheese's 19 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Toledo opened up an early 13-7 lead, holding the Zips to just 3-of-16 from the floor in the opening 10 minutes.
- Akron cut the lead to two, 21-19, with a 10-6 run capped by a driving layup by Tyler Cheese with 3:56 left in the first half.
- Toledo took a 29-20 lead into the locker room after Chris Darrington nailed a three-pointer with nine seconds left in the half.
- The Rockets held Akron to just 21.9% (7-of-32) from the field while shooting just 12-of-32 (37.5%) themselves.
- After an opening basket by Toledo, Akron scored the next 16 points to take a 36-31 lead with 12:13 left. Cheese had nine points in the run.
- A Willie Jackson put-back tied the score, 36-36, with 11:04 left.
- Neither team could build more than a two-point lead over the next four minutes until a Spencer Littleson three, and a Jaelan Sanford drive gave UT a 47-44 lead with 6:19 left.
- Sanford extended the lead to 56-50 with a long two-pointer, forcing Akron to call a time-out with 2:12 remaining. Nate Navigato tacked on three more with a layup and a free throw to increase the lead to 59-50.
- Toledo made 5-of-5 free throws in the waning moments to seal the win.
Kent State at Akron -- 9 p.m. ET
Western Michigan at Ball State -- 2 p.m. ET
Northern Illinois at Eastern Michigan -- 2 p.m. ET
Ohio at Miami -- 2 p.m. ET
Central Michigan at Buffalo -- 3:30 p.m. ET
Toledo at Bowling Green -- 6 p.m. ET