It was fitting that the Detroit Titans were sporting their red jerseys on Senior Day because their shooting was red hot in defeating Wisconsin-Milwaukee 80-66. The Titans made their first eight field goal attempts, and did not miss one until over six minutes into the first half. This enabled them to get out to a quick 20-8 lead. Their biggest first half lead came as they built a 44-29 halftime lead. Chris Jenkins was a big reason for Detroit Mercy’s success as he had 14 of his 17 points in the first half. He continues his prolific shooting as he was 5-7 from three-point range. Jenkins is so dangerous offensively because he is comfortable shooting in transition and off of the dribble. He can also finish strong at the basket, which he has not needed to do as much because that is the M.O. of his teammate Paris Bass. The multi-talented Bass finished with a game-high 24 points, many of them coming on his drives to the basket as Panther defenders had a difficult time containing him. Senior point guard Carlton Brundidge had arguably his best collegiate game in his final one at Calihan Hall. Brundidge had 16 points (on 7-11 from the field) and a game-high 12 rebounds. The Titans were in cruise control in the second half leading by as many as 18, as the Panthers never got closer than within nine points.
Detroit Mercy came into the game as the Horizon League’s worst scoring defense team, giving up over 83 points per game. The Titans clearly ratcheted up their defensive intensity holding the Panthers to 13 points below their season average. The Panthers came into the game as the H-League’s best shooting team from the field at 46.7%. They were held to just 32.8% today. Panthers star point guard Jordan Johnson, who is second in the nation in assists per game, had a hard time finding open teammates for quality shots. This was largely due to the defensive prowess of Brundidge, Jenkins, Bass, and Anton Wilson. Johnson finished with 12 points and 5 assists. Matt Tiby came out aggressively by attempting six field goals in the game’s first six minutes. He finished with 22 points, including an impressive 9-10 from the free throw line. Tiby, the H-League’s leading rebounder, only grabbed four boards. This is because the Titans did a good job of boxing him out and guarding him in the post. This forced Tiby to play from around the perimeter for much of the game. The Titans also held junior guard Akeem Springs to just two points, by far his lowest output of the season. Springs came into the game averaging 14.3 ppg.
The Panthers fall to 7-6 in H-League play and 16-10 overall. They need to rest up as they play at Green Bay on Monday in a rivalry game. The good news for the Panthers is that their final four games are at home, with three of those against the league’s bottom three teams. The Titans improve to 7-7 and 13-12 overall. Their final four regular season games are on the road, beginning Tuesday at Northern Kentucky. For now, the Titans can enjoy this victory and feel good about getting a win for Wilson and Brundidge in their final home game.