Williams combined with freshman forward Nate Navigato to score 11 points in the final four minutes to help Toledo rally from a 67-59 deficit. The Rockets' junior guard ignited UT's rally with a steal and layup with 3:25 to play. Navigato followed . . .
"We didn't play very well tonight, but good teams find ways to win on the road," head coach Tod Kowalczyk said following his 100th victory at the helm of the Rockets. "Jon-Jon and Nate (Navigato) both hit big shots after struggling most of the game, and getting wins at Kent State and Buffalo gives us a big boost heading into Saturday's game versus Miami."
Williams topped UT with 15 points. He was joined in double figures by junior forward Zach Garber (13 pts.), senior center Nathan Boothe (11 pts.), junior forward Nate Navigato (11 pts.) and sophomore guard Stuckey Mosley (10 pts.).
The freshman duo of forward Nick Perkins and guard CJ Massinburg paced Buffalo with a season-high 17 points and 12 points, respectively. Junior forward Blake Hamilton and senior guard Jarryn Skeete added 10 points apiece.
Toledo struggled on the offensive end with its 37.1 field-goal percentage and 6-of-26 showing (23.1 percent) behind the three-point arc. However, the Rockets were able to make up for their shooting woes with a decisive 41-30 advantage on the boards and a 19-of-23 performance (82.6 percent) at the charity stripe.
Boothe paced UT on the glass with a game-high 11 rebounds to give him his sixth straight double-double and 12th this season. Garber also grabbed seven boards, including five of UT's 17 on the offensive end.
"Buffalo's defensive pressure kept us from doing things that we normally do," Kowalczyk said.I" don't think we were as strong as we needed to be with the ball, but we came up with some big stops and rebounds in the last four minutes to give ourselves a chance."
Buffalo held a 17-11 lead with 9:05 to play in the first half before junior guard Jordan Lauf hit a trey and Williams converted a three-point play to even the score at 17-17 a minute later. A pair of Mosley baskets put UT up 22-19 with 5:40 remaining before the break, but UB hit its final six shots of the period for a 37-28 lead at intermission.
The Bulls maintained a firm grasp of the lead until a Williams' trey reduced the Rockets' deficit to 64-59 at the 5:33 mark. Perkins buried his third trey with 4:33 left to put UT down eight. Toledo then came up empty on its next two possessions before Williams began the Rocket rally with his theft from Hamilton.
Miami at Toledo (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET)
Ohio at Buffalo (Friday, 7 p.m. ET)
(Courtesy of UB Athletics)