Detroit Mercy has started 0-3. Granted, they played two ACC teams, and what at one time was a solid Wyoming team. But 0-3 is unacceptable. When Ray McCallum was fired in 2016, there was talk of behind the scenes issues. Still, it came down to despite being consistent, and they didn’t do well in a majority of “big games.”
NC State was expected to beat the Titans, but a sub-par Clemson team and a Wyoming team that until they hosted UDM looked like it had a hard time finding the hoop ran the Titans out of the building. Instead of getting a coveted win over a power conference team, Detroit Mercy is 0-3.
Basketball is a game of runs, and over the first three games, the last two in particular runs have doomed the Titans. Last night was the first time in the Davis era I’ve been mad and thought that we need to call Andy Bronkema and apologize for whatever the university did to make him mad in the twenty-fifth hour of that negotiation.
I get the game was at high altitude, and that creates a handful of problems, but remember most games in conference play will come on 24 hours rest.
Antoine Davis must score 20 a night if we’re going to compete. I know there is a lot on this kids shoulders, but we NEED him to carry us.
It has become apparent for now that if Davis is having a decent night, Detroit has a chance. When he is an active scoring threat, everyone else gets open, and the offense is more efficient. The last five minutes of the first half versus Wyoming and at times against Clemson, it seemed like he got selfish trying to do too much. In the the Wyoming game, he looked affected by the thin air and like he did not have gas in the tank from about the first media timeout.
That being said, Davis’ shot selection was beyond poor, and he refused to hit the open hot hand Willy Insiani at the start of the game and Brad Calipari later in the game. There were three straight sets late in the first half that there was either an open shooter on the wing (Calipari) or a player that was open to drive in freely (Moore and Rose, Jr). Instead, Davis had two bad drives that he was heavily guarded and didn’t get a good look when he went to the basket, and on the third trip, he air-balled a three with 7+ seconds on the shot clock.
There are flashes of the supporting cast being able to spell our star guard. We saw it vs. the Cowboys. Calipari and Insiani are spot-up shooters from the wing and corner; this year, Detroit Mercy has the option to drive and kick it out for a three, and I hope as the season progresses, it is utilized more.
Calpiari showed against Wyoming he’s got the range and confidence to be a weapon in our conference, Moore and Rose have each demonstrated the ability to hit a spot-up three as well and the ability to drive and finish.
The second issue the Titans currently face, and I think it will be solved soon, is there needs to be someone to spell Davis at the point guard spot. It sounds like BJ Maxwell will be that guy for Detroit. I think If Davis can get a few more minutes of rest a game and fewer ball-carrying duties, he could be more effective.
Despite an 0-3 record, there are a lot of positives. Chris Brandon looks like he will develop into an impact player at the “4” for Detroit. His athleticism will make him a problem for other Horizon league teams by the end of this year. There have been a handful of instances when Brandon has been able to get the ball on the baseline or the low block, and then use his athleticism to get the ball into the hoop.
Moore is quietly super handy for the Titans. Despite not being a consistent scoring threat, He has rebounded well this season. Moore grabbed four rebounds against NC State, added three more versus Clemson and nine at Wyoming. Moore also has shown when he’s open; he’s a dead-eye shooter. He is additionally very active defensively its abundantly clear why coach Davis has utilized him so much as he’s played over thirty mins in every contest this season.
Hopefully, Detroit Mercy can get on the right track this weekend in Las Vegas as they take on UC-Irvine and Louisiana- Lafayette. The Anteaters come in 4-2 at press time with a game against TCU Thursday night in Fort Worth. The wins for the Anteaters came against UC San Diego, San Diego (apparently two different schools), Life Pacific (an NAIA School), and Boise State. The two losses were to a ranked Colorado team and WAC contender Pepperdine.
The Anteaters are lead by senior point guard Eyassu Worku from nearby Artesia, California, and he’s averaged fourteen points a game and has a team-high seventeen assists through five games. Other key contributors are Collin Welp, a redshirt sophomore center who has 12 points a game this year and five rebounds, and the “2” senior Evan Leonard, who is averaging 12 points per contest.
The Cajuns ( Insert Tom Segura Joke about how all Cajun people are stupid) will play Thursday against Wyoming and them Monday and Tuesday versus Detroit Mercy and UC Irvine. As of press time, they are 3-1 with a win over NAIA Loyola New Orleans, McNeese State , and conference rival Youngstown State. The one loss was a blowout to TCU.
All five starters for the Cajuns average over 10points per game. Jalen Johnson, a 6-7 junior forward from Baton Rouge, is averaging 21 points per contest. It will be interesting to see if the Cajuns’ balanced scoring will continue vs. the Titans.
Also, a point to remember is this is Justin Miller’s former school.
I need to address the technical foul issue. Four in three games in an issue, and this is a top-down leadership issue. I completely understand the frustration with the officials, but at what point is it just time to admit your not going to get the calls you want and move on?
Last season, it felt like Mike Davis averaged one tech a game and were on two bench technical fouls in three games this year. Everyone on the Detroit Mercy sideline needs just to shut up and deal with the officiating because complaining hasn’t done us any favors, and now we have a reputation.