Toledo fends off Bobcat surge, wins 82-76

Rian Pearson scored 29 points for Toledo (21-3, 9-2) to defeat Ohio (17-7, 7-4) 82-76 on Wednesday night. When his Rockets trailed 57-56 with 10 minutes remaining, the senior scored nine straight points to regain a lead that Toledo would never surrender.

Rian Pearson scored 29 points to lead Toledo past Ohio on Wednesday. (Photo: toledofreepress.com)

Rian Pearson scored 29 points to lead Toledo past Ohio on Wednesday. (Photo: toledofreepress.com)

“I knew Rian Pearson was gonna step up tonight.” said Ohio head coach Jim Christian on the Ohio IMG Sports Radio Network. “He’s a preseason 1st team all-conference player. We knew he was going to get his.”

Pearson’s big game came in the absence of Toledo’s starters, Justin Drummond. Drummond averages 14.6 PPG, but was suspended on Wednesday after being charged with DUI on Saturday night.

Ohio was also missing one of their starters. Senior T.J. Hall was suspended for academic reasons. To add to Hall’s loss, Stevie Taylor went down with what appeared to be a calf injury with 6:58 left in the game. The Bobcats lack of depth appeared to be a key factor in the loss.

“We played some guys a lot of minutes tonight. Our big three was exhausted,” Christian said.

Pearson was one of four Toledo players in double figures. Juice Brown had 17 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists to help Pearson.

Nick Kellogg had 21 points for Ohio and Travis Wilkins remained hot with 17 points and 8 boards. Wilkins had a career-high 23 points on Saturday vs. Miami and sparked the Bobcat run, hitting the fifth three with 12:34 remaining to give the ‘Cats a 55-50 lead.

Ohio led by as many as six, but a 10-0 Rocket run, largely the work of Pearson, snatched the Bobcats’ lead away quickly.

Toledo maintained an edge on the glass throughout the night, outrebounding Ohio 39-31.

“If you go into sombody’s building and they get 16 offensive rebounds, it’s gonna hurt,” Christian said.

The Bobcats will look to bounce back on Saturday when they travel to Buffalo for a 2:30 p.m. matchup against the Bulls.

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