Rockets Dominate Zips During Weekend Match-Up


Postgame interview with the Rockets guard, Jaelan Sanford following their win over Akron. (Photo courtesy of Toledo Men’s Basketball)

By Colin Brennan, Sports Contributor

Akron welcomed the current MAC West leader, Toledo, to the James A. Rhodes Arena on Feb. 3rd. Unfortunately, the Zips losing streak continued as they lost to the Rockets, 77-56 on Saturday.

The Toledo Rockets were a familiar foe for John Groce and company, as they dispatched the Zips in Toledo, winning 67-65 earlier in the season. However, this game was not as close as the first.

During the first half of action, the Zips started out hot with a seven-point lead. Toledo managed to bounce back, as they quickly took back lead with a little under five minutes left, 27-18. All signs early on pointed to the Rockets maintaining a steady lead for the rest of the game.

Daniel Utomi and Vershon Cotton made three three-pointers in a row to minimize the Rockets’ lead to only 2 points. Toledo was able to recover taking a 35-27 lead into the halftime period.

For the Zips, Daniel Utomi lead the way scoring 17 points. Vershon Cotton and Jimond Ivey were the only other Zips to score in double digits.

The Zips seemed to be in their own way as they committed seven more fouls than their opponent, and allowed the Rockets to score 15 points on offensive rebounds and foul shots.

When the teams first met in January, guard Jaelan Sanford, sealed the win for Toledo as he scored a game-high with 22 points for the Rockets. During this meeting Sanford continued to be a thorn in the Zips’ side, scoring 18 points of Toledo’s 77, in addition to 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.

A big difference in this game was that Sanford wasn’t alone. The leading scorer this past weekend was wingman, Tre’Shaun Fletcher who poured in 23 points. The biggest ally to the Rockets was the three-point line, as they hit 10 of them throughout the game.

Following Saturday’s loss, Coach Groce and the Zips fell to 10-12 on the season and 3-7 in MAC East conference play; whereas the Rockets season record moves to 16-7 and improves their conference record to 8-2.

Akron looks to break their three-game losing streak as they travel to Athens to face off against Ohio on Tuesday, Feb. 6. Game coverage can be viewed on ESPN3 at 7 p.m. For any additional information on the Zips, check out