1954 NCAA Tournament
Penn State 62 - Toledo 50
First Round, Fort Wayne, IN
Fort Wayne, IN - Appearing in its first-ever NCAA Tournament game, the University of Toledo men's basketball team opened up a 30-27 halftime lead but couldn't hold on and fell to Penn State, 62-50, before 6,173 fans in Fort Wayne, Ind. Over 1,500 fans from Toledo made the trip west to cheer on the Rockets.
Toledo's three-point cushion slipped away at the end of the third quarter as Penn State's zone defense stifled the Rockets and forced them to shoot from outside. The score was knotted at 43 following the third stanza.
In the final period, the Rockets couldn't buy a bucket and were outscored by the Lions, 19-7. Penn State was able to control the boards at both ends of the court as UT's bomb squad had an off game.
Phil Martin paced the Rockets with 26 points, while Burt Spice added 11.
1967 NCAA Tournament
Virginia Tech 82 - Toledo 76
1st Round, Lexington, KY
Lexington, KY - Appearing in an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in 13 seasons, the Rockets stormed to a 46-43 halftime lead over Virginia Tech. The Gobblers, however, held the one-two punch of Steve Mix and John Brisker in check and pulled out an 82-76 victory before 11,500 patrons in Memorial Coliseum.
Mix had 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Brisker recorded 15 points and 10 rebounds. Bob Miller paced the Rockets with 19 points and seven rebounds and John Rudley had 13 points and three rebounds.
The Gobblers hit at a torrid 62 percent clip from the field in the second half (18 of 29), while the Rockets went cold, connecting on just 13 of 38 shots for 34 percent. Toledo did, however, hold the advantage at the free throw line, hitting six more charity tosses.
Ken Talley had a monster game for Virginia Tech, scoring 24 points and pulling down 19 rebounds. Glen Combs had 18 points, followed by Ted Ware with 17 and Ron Perry with 12.
1979 NCAA Tournament
Toledo 74 - Iowa 72
2nd Round, Bloomington, IN
Bloomington, IN — When a young boy grows up playing basketball he envisions himself taking a pass in the waning moments of the NCAA Tournament and drilling it for the game-winning shot as time expires. In March of 1979, the fantasy became reality for Rocket guard Stan Joplin.
After Jay Lehman broke a double team and, passed the ball to Dick Miller, who drove across halfcourt, the ball was given to Joplin who nailed the 20-footer just prior to the buzzer. After that, the shot goes down in the annals of Rocket basketball as one of the greatest in history.
Joplin hit just two other shots from the field that evening and was 3-for-7 from the floor, but connected on 9-of-11 attempts from the charity stripe for 15 points.
The Rockets were an underdog against Big Ten power Iowa, who fielded one of the best guards in the nation in Ronnie Lester along with a strong supporting cast.
Right from the beginning it looked as if the Rockets were going to be victims of the Hawkeyes, as Iowa pulled to a 41-29 halftime lead.
After the intermission, the Rockets came out and dominated the second half, outscoring the Hawkeyes, 45-31, and hitting a blistering 63 percent from the field. UT hit 12 of 19 shots in the the second stanza and was even hotter from the free throw line in the half, connecting on 21 of 25.
Miller paced the Rockets with 18 points, 14 rebounds and four assists, while Jim Swaney chipped in with 12 points and four rebounds and Lehman added 10 points and three assists.
Lester did shine for Iowa as he hit 9-of-13 shots from the field, was 5-for-6 from the line for 23 points and added six assists, two steals and four rebounds.
1979 NCAA Tournament
Notre Dame 79 - Toledo 71
Sweet 16, Bloomington, IN
Indianapolis, IN - For the second straight game, David was again staring Goliath in the face. This time Goliath featured a team that would eventually send four of its prominent players onto brilliant NBA careers.
The players were: Orlando Woolridge (New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons, plus several other teams), Kelly Tripucka (Detroit Pistons), Bill Laimbeer (Detroit Pistons) and Bill Hanzlik (Denver Nuggets).
Despite these giants, the Rockets were up for the challenge.
Notre Dame raced to a 43-33 first-half lead and proved to be just too much for the Rockets who only cut into the Fighting Irish lead by two for the final margin.
Jim Swaney and Dick Miller were once again the backbone for the Rockets as Swaney tallied 26 points on a 10-for-14 performance from the field and Miller scored 18 points and pulled down a game-high 10 boards.
Stan Joplin, the hero against Iowa just days before, couldn't buy a bucket going 0-for-5 from the field and 0-for-2 from the line. Toledo's other point production came from guards Jay Lehman and Tim Selgo, each with eight points each, and from sophomore forward Harvey Knuckles with seven.
Notre Dame was well balanced, led by the sharp-shooting Tripucka, who tallied 24 points. Hanzlik added 14 points four rebounds and two assists, Woolridge tallied 11 points and six rebounds and Laimbeer chipped in with eight points and five boards.
Notre Dame would lose in the next round to the sensational sophomore Earvin "Magic" Johnson and eventual NCAA Champion Michigan State Spartans.
1980 NCAA Tournament
Florida State 94 - Toledo 91
1st Round, Bowling Green, KY
Bowling Green, KY - It was an old-fashioned southern shootout as the Rockets took on the high-flying Florida State Seminoles in the first round of the 1980 NCAA Tournament.
Both teams were blistering from the field right from the beginning as Toledo shot 55 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the line in the first half and the Seminoles hit on 57 percent of their field goals and 82 percent of their charity stripes.
The Rockets led 48-43 at the intermission and no one thought that both teams could keep up their torrid pace of the first half. But it would continue.
FSU hit 54 percent from the field (22-41) in the second stanza and the Rockets bettered that, hitting 19 of 33 from the floor for 58 percent. For the game, Toledo hit on 56 percent of its shots and the Seminoles hit at a 55 percent clip. Florida State outscored the Rockets, 51-43, in the second half en route to a 94-91 come-from-behind win.
Toledo had all five starters in double figures, paced by Jim Swaney with 22. He hit on 10 of 17 shots from the floor, was 2 for 4 from the line and hauled down eight boards. Dick Miller recorded 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists, Harvey Knuckles had 20 points, and Tim Selgo added 18 points and seven assists to go along with backcourt mate Jay Lehman, who had 10 points and 13 assists.
The Seminoles had three players with 20 or more points, led by Rodney Arnold, who tallied 29. Murray Brown added 26 points and Mickey Dillard recorded 22 points. Tony Jackson dished out eight assists.