TOLEDO, Ohio -- Up until the final 11 minutes of the game, Wednesday's contest between Central Michigan and Toledo resembled more of a ping pong match than a basketball game.
It was a back-and-forth contest with 19 lead changes before the host Rockets took the lead for good with 10:31 remaining and then they held off a late Chippewa rally to win, 72-67.
Sophomore Trey Zeigler sparked the Chippewa comeback with a career-high 33 points on 15-of-25 shooting from the floor. He tallied 14 of CMU's final 18 points in the game.
Central trailed by 11, 64-53, with 5:32 to play before the Chippewas rattled off a 9-0 run to get within a bucket. CMU was unable to get stops after that and fouled instead, sending Toledo to the line 10 times in the final two and a half minutes. UT hit eight of the attempts from the charity stripe to hold off CMU and the Chippewas helped the Rockets' cause by making just one of three freebies in the final 35 seconds. Toledo did not make a field goal in the final five and a half minutes of the contest.
The first half featured 13 lead changes before Toledo went to the locker room with a 37-36 lead at the break. UT shot 63 percent in the second half allowing the Rockets to pull away.
Zeigler's 33 points surpassed his old career high of 30 set last year at home against Toledo. It also marks the most points scored by a MAC player in a league game this season.
He added eight rebounds, three assists and two steals while playing 38 minutes.
Fellow sophomore Derek Jackson was the only other Chippewa in double figures with 12 points and three steals. Austin McBroom returned to the floor after missing the last game and he tallied nine points and five assists while Andre Coimbra added six points and four boards.
The Rockets were led by freshman Julius Brown's 29 points and Curtis Dennis added 18 off the bench. Brown was 10-for-11 from the floor and 8-for-10 from the line.
Both teams shot over 50 percent from the field with the Rockets hitting 58 percent while CMU made 52 percent. There were big discrepancies from the other two areas on the floor, though, as Toledo made 40 percent of its 3-point attempts (4-for-10) and nailed 75 percent of its free throws (18-for-24) while the Chippewas hit just 5-of-18 treys for 28 percent and only 8-of-16 freebies for a 50 percent clip.
Toledo won the battle of the boards, 25-23, and the Rockets' bench outscored CMU's, 24-2.
The Chippewas close the regular season with three games next week, beginning with a Sunday, Feb. 26, matinee against the Northern Illinois Huskies. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m., and the game will be televised on Sports Time Ohio.
• CMU's Olivier Mbaigoto did not play in the game after suffering an injury in a collision during the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi game on Saturday.
• In four career games against Toledo, sophomore Trey Zeigler is now averaging 26.0 points per game against the Rockets with a pair of 30-point outings.
• Derek Jackson picked up three steals to raise his season total to 49. He needs just two more to move into a tie for eighth on CMU's single season chart.
• Freshman Auston Barnes notched the second start of his career in place of the injured Olivier Mbaigoto who had started 24 times this season.
• Freshman Austin McBroom tied a career high with three steals.
• Toledo snapped a six-game losing skid against the Chippewas.
• Trey Zeigler's 33 points were the most by a Chippewa since Giordan Watson scored 34 in an overtime game against Buffalo on Feb. 2, 2008. The last time a CMU player had more points in regulation was when Watson had 34 against Buffalo in the MAC Tournament in Cleveland on March 7, 2007.
• Bowling Green's A'uston Calhoun and Toledo's Rian Pearson shared the previous MAC game high scoring output in conference action this season with 29 points. Calhoun accomplished the feat against Buffalo while Pearson hit the mark at Akron. Toledo's Julius Brown also had 29 for the Rockets tonight.