Detroit Mercy has won seven of its last eight games, and their record sits at 8-8 and 7-5 in the conference. With four conference games left until the horizon league tournament, the Titans are surging right now.
They are powered by Antoine Davis, who is shooting better than 50% from three in his last eight games. He has also gone from lost to a potential Horizon League first-team candidate and a dark horse for Player of the Year.
Bul Kuol has also been on a tear. If he’s not scoring over 15 points a night, he’s hitting clutch shots that keep Detroit in the game and providing energy and encouragement to his teammates.
Matt Johnson has also provided a secondary scoring option. When he is hot, he requires at least one man to play on him, allowing other Titans to get the ball in open space.
Dwayne Rose, Jr. has shown what he can do over the last few weeks getting more minutes and points than he has ever gotten as a Titan. It is worth noting that his knee has been acting up, and that’s why we did not see a lot of him this weekend.
Noah Waterman has been a tad streaky, but when he’s having a good night, it’s an excellent outing for him. I was mocked when I said he could be like Nick Minnerath was for us back in 2010-13, I think he could be better. Waterman has to stop committing frustration fouls and calm down when shooting; if he can do that and bulk up, he is probably a Player of the Year candidate in two years.
Playing Antoine Davis off the ball has allowed the Titans to do more things creatively on the offensive end with two players cutting at a time. Despite not being a super tall team and not using the seven-footer Buay Koka as a rotation player, Chris Brandon, Marquell Fraser, Waterman, and Kuol have been able to use their length to keep up with bigger teams in rebounding.
This weekend, Detroit travels to Cleveland State to face the best team in the league. CSU has no star player; they play a team game and have only two players averaging over 10 points per game, led by Torrey Patton and D’Moi Hodge.
Patton is 6-5 leads the team in scoring 12.6 points per contest, and shooting 30% from three. Hodge, who is 6-4, was a juco standout last year; he’s been good for 11.1 points per game but has the ability to go off, dropping 46 on Purdue Fort Wayne earlier in the year. Even though he has only scored 20 points or more twice this season he can’t be overlooked.
Craig Beaudion is the third guard to this four-out, one-in monster Cleveland State runs and is their three-point guy for them. Deante Johnson is 6-9 and from Detroit, attending Detroit Edison. He is the anchor/flex in the four-out, one-in system. He does not shoot threes but expect him to be a force in the paint and in the midrange area. Tre Gomillion is the final starter for the Vikes; he’s not great from outside but is a good shot from midrange.
Cleveland State tends to go four to five deep on the bench, unlike the Titan bench; these are guys who spell the starters, no one who is going to break out and really hurt Detroit on paper. That being said, the Vikings play such a strong team game that any can hurt the Titans. CSU is a team with many players that cause matchup issues, but Detroit Mercy is longer and bigger. If the Titan can shoot the three well and rebound, they will give CSU trouble.
It will be an exciting weekend, and I am excited to see what the Titans can do and if they can keep the streak going. Point of note: the game Friday is on ESPNU at 9pm If you’re a cord cutter like me, it may be wise to check to see if you can get that channel.