DeKalb, IL (Sports Network) - Julius Brown netted 20 points to push the Toledo Rockets to a 69-64 decision over the Northern Illinois Huskies in a Mid- American Conference matchup at the Convocation Center.
Matt Smith contributed 14 points and blocked two shots to help Toledo (9-10, 5-3 MAC) pick up its third win in a row. Rian Pearson tallied 12 points, eight rebounds, and four steals for the Rockets.
Abdel Nader recorded his second consecutive double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds for NIU (5-15, 3-5), which has now lost five of its last seven contests. Aksel Bolin scored 18 points and J.J. Cravatta came off the bench to add 10 points.
Toledo shot 41.7 percent from the field and outscored the Huskies, 7-0, in points off of turnovers in the opening 20 minutes on its way to a 28-24 halftime lead.
The Rockets pushed their lead to nine points just over three minutes after the start of the second half, but NIU continued to battle back and managed to take 3-point lead at the 4:17 mark of the period when Nader knocked down a triple to break a 55-55 tie. Toledo scored six consecutive points to go back on top for good. The Huskies shot just 38.7 percent from the floor in the second half while the Rockets converted 21-of-26 attempts at the charity stripe to hang on for the win.
NIU was unable to defend their home court despite outscoring Toledo, 17-8, in bench points and also, 9-2, in second chance points.