The Detroit Titans look to continue winning ways to reach second straight NCAA Tournament
The Detroit Mercy Titans are 2-2 after two big losses to St. John’s and Miami (FL). Although the record so far is not as wonderful as the Titans would like, a lot of positives can be taken from both losses. For the Titans, however, things must change in order for the team to win the Horizon League and make it back to the NCAA tournament.
On the road and in front of a crowd of 3,506, the Detroit Titans opened the road season against a tough opponent. Early success for the Titans was evident as they led at halftime 37-29. The second half was a much tougher contest, but the Titans led the Red Storm throughout the majority of the game.
A late 24-14 run gave the Red Storm the advantage and they ended up pulling out a grinding win 77-74. Ray McCallum Jr. lead the team in scoring, going 8-23 inside the arc and hitting 4-12 from behind the arc for a total of 21 points.
Ray also had four assists and two steals in 38 minutes of play. Other highly productive players for the Titans included Jason Calliste, who scored 18 and had four assists, and Juwan Howard Jr., who scored 10, had an assist and a block.
For St. John’s, Phil Greene IV had a highly productive day. He shot 58.3 percent from inside the arc and 100 percent from beyond for a total of 20 points. He also had six assists. Greene, however, was not the highest scorer on the day for St.Johns. D'Angelo Harrison scored 22 and had a pair of assists. Amir Garrett scored 15 and had 11 rebounds for the Red Storm.
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The run by the Red Storm created a tough and exciting ending to the game as it came down to one final possession for the Titans. With only a few seconds remaining in the game, St. John’s turned over the ball and Juwan Howard Jr. took a three-point shot at the buzzer to tie the game, but came up short and the Red Storm clenched the victory.
In the second of three games, the Titans faced Drake at home. Needing a win to get things back on track, the Titans won in convincing fashion 85-79. The key player for the Titans in the victory was Ray McCallum Jr., who scored 20 points, had five assists and three steals. Doug Anderson had a big night, leading all scorers with 26 points. Juwan Howard Jr. scored eight and also had a pair of assists, one rebound and one steal.
For Drake, the leading scorer was Jordan Clarke, who had 17 on the night and a pair of assists. Chris Hines came off the bench to help Drake with 14 points and an assist. The overall shooting percentage for Drake was 49 percent from the field and 39 percent from the arc.
The third and final game of the stretch for the Titans was a road game down to the University of Miami. The biggest game so far of the season for the Titans had mixed results. The Titans played very well, holding the lead for the majority of the first half until a late first-half run gave Miami the lead 35-31 going into the half.
Nick Minnerath was on fire for the Titans throughout the game. During the first half, he lead a run for the Titans that led Detroit, who trailed 6-2, to a 13-3 run. Late in the first, Minnerath scored back-to-back threes to increase Detroit's lead by four.
For the night, Minnerath led all scorers with 22 points, which included five three-pointers, and had an assist and a steal. Ray McCallum scored a season-low 15 points in the game, but also had three assists and two steals. Juwan Howard Jr. played well and had five points, one steal and one assist.
As well as the Titans played, Miami played better. Facing a early 15-9 deficit, the Hurricanes battled back to take a 35-31 lead at the half. In the second half, Miami did not turn back, outscoring the Titans 42-31 and winning the game 77-62.
Miami showcased the talent of the ACC Saturday night as they controlled the floor for the entirety of the second half. Four Miami starters scored double digits, and Shane Larkin and Durand Scott tied as lead scorers with 15 points each. Scott and Larkin were equally impressive as they both had three assists and two steals.
For Detroit, it was a heartbreaking loss. Although every loss is painful, the Titans can take a lot of positives away from the game. Detroit played neck-and-neck throughout the first half with a team in the ACC (the second-best basketball conference in the county) and the game showcased the talent that the Titans bring to the floor day after day.
Even though the final result was a loss, the Titans have a lot to be proud of and it is good experience that Detroit can build upon as it faces tougher and tougher opponents in the future, and possibly in the NCAA Tournament.
The Titans continue a three-game road series, which started in Miami. Their next opponent is Bowling Green and tipoff is at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday. After the Bowling Green game, they travel to what will be the biggest test so far in the season as they play Pittsburgh on December 1 at 7 p.m. ET. The Pittsburgh game will be covered on ESPN 3.