MAC MBB Semi-finals: Dennis’ 28 pushes Toledo past Ohio

Artie Abrego, Sports Reporter, Falcon Media Sports Network

The Toledo Rockets defeated the Ohio Bobcats 82-75 in the semifinals of the MAC Tournament to advance to the MAC championship game.  

The first half was a battle between both teams. Halfway through the half, The Bobcats and Toledo’s Dontae Maddox traded shots at the three-point line, with Maddox hitting two threes. Ohio’s AJ Brown and Jaylin Hunter each knocked one down from deep in a minute-long three-point battle.  

Toledo went into the half up 37-31. 

At the half, the MAC Player of the Year, RayJ Dennis, and Maddox scored 13 points each. The Bobcats were led by Hunter, who recorded 13 points on 5/8 shooting, with two steals at the half.  

Both teams entered the second half red-hot. Hunter picked up right where he left off, hitting another three. The Rockets responded a minute later with a JT Shumate three.  

A highlight play during this second half came when Toledo’s Setric Milner Jr dunked on Ohio’s A.J Clayton. That dunk was Milner’s first score of the night.  

Toledo and Ohio remained tightly contested for the rest of the second half, with Toledo remaining in the lead throughout as both teams traded shots. 

 The Bobcats could not take the lead in the second half despite Ohio keeping up with Toledo’s explosive offense.  

Toledo, due to crucial scoring plays by Dennis and Maddox Jr, defeated the Bobcats 82-75 to advance to the Championship game. 

Dennis finished with 28 points for the Rockets and grabbed six rebounds. Maddox Jr. also finished with 20 points and shot 50% from the three-point line on six attempts. 

Hunter finished with 27 points for the Bobcats and shot 7-11 from the three-point line. He also recorded three steals.

Toledo Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk showed respect towards their MAC opponents postgame. 

“A lot of respect for Ohio because they can, really, really score,” Kowalczyk said. “We know we had to have some runs. It just felt like we could never put them away. We played really well, we got up eight, and eight never went to 15.”  

The Rockets advance to the MAC championship game to battle the Kent State Golden Flashes on Saturday, starting at 7:30 pm.