There's something special about these Detroit Titans. Three straight wins and now 13 straight wins at historic Calihan Hall (tied for the 10th longest home stretch in the nation).
Last season, the boys from McNichols went on a surprising late season run, winning 16 of their last 20 games en route to winning the Horizon League Championship and their first NCAA tournament bid since 1999.
They started the season off 5-5 and went into a little bit of a slump in December. Part of the reason for the Titans' slow start was the loss of Nick Minnerath to an injury and the suspension of Eli Holman (who now plays in Israel for Hapoel Eilat B.C, averaging 13.6 PPG).
With the loss of Holman and starters Chase Simon and LaMarcus Lowe, anything but positives could have been expected from the Titans this year.
So far, the season has been rough at times. Although they have not lost at home (5-0), their record on the road is pretty horrible (0-4).
One of the big reasons for this is the difficult schedule the Titans have opened up with. The four teams that have beaten the Titans have combined for a home record of 22-1 and an overall record of 26-9. Pittsburgh's one loss was a tight one to Michigan and Miami (FL) pulled off an upset on their home floor over Michigan State.
The quality of opponents that the Titans have played so far this season has demonstrated the talent that this Detroit team has.
Over the weekend, the Detroit Titans played what has probably been their easiest opponent of the season. Rochester College came to Calihan with high hopes of avenging their 2007 loss (DET def RC 67-51).
Things would not go Rochester's way as the Titans devastated them 102-67. From the very first minute of the game, the Titans ran the tempo, setting up a 7-2 run in the first two minutes.
Rochester, however, did not fold early. The Warriors began what would be their largest run of the game, taking a few risky shots and finding themselves on a 7-0 run. A missed three by Boutte would give the Warriors a chance to take the lead, which they took advantage of. The two point lead was the largest of the night for the Warriors, as the Titans would bounce back and finish the half on a high note, leading 53-29.
In the second half, the Titans did not let up, going on to win the game 102-67. Overall, the Titans played what has probably been their best game all season. Ten Titans scored, while Ray McCallum Jr. led all scorers with 24 points. Jason Calliste and Anton Wilson each scored 14 and Juwan Howard Jr. and Nick “Bad Boy” Minnerath added another 11.
For Rochester College, the most productive player of the game was Dramell Hogan, who scored 22 points, had a steal and an assist. The athleticism of the Titans clearly overpowered the Warriors and in the end, the Titans showed the pure talent of most of their key players.
Monday night was a double header at Calihan. The first game of the night played was the woman’s team which saw a lot of excitement. Shareta Brown secured her place in Detroit Mercy history with a 43-point performance. Brown's performance would end up breaking the university's scoring record, previously held by Jeanie Hill (who scored 43 against Northern Illinois on Feb.15th, 1997).
The Lady Titans would go on to beat the Lourdes Gray Wolves 101-50.
The second game of the double header squared the Titans off against the Alabama State Hornets. The crowd at Calihan Hall was a delight, as a large home contingent came to watch the Titans during the middle of finals week.
Alabama State entered the game on a six-game losing streak and would find themselves adding another loss by the end of the night.
Detroit opened the game on an 8-0 run. Three minutes into the game, the Titans led 10-3. Even though the Hornets were down, they were playing very tough and, many times throughout the first couple of possessions, fast-paced and intense defense flowed.
Seven minutes into the game, the Titans had their first double-digit lead of the night, as they led 22-12. After a mass substitution that saw Nick Minnerath and Ray McCallum Jr. leave the floor, the Hornets went on a tear, outscoring the Titans 16-3 and taking a 28-25 lead with just over six minutes remaining in the half.
The Hornets were not done as they would maintain the lead until a little over two minutes remained in the first half. The Titans would surge to a late run and take a three point lead into the half (39-36).
Half-time adjustments were in definite need for the Titans. Alabama State had played remarkably well in the first half and the fans were getting anxious to see something good happen. As the second half opened, the Titans would increase their lead to nine and then allow the lead to slip back down to two with thirteen minutes remaining.
Following a crucial timeout by coach Ray McCallum, the Titans would end up fighting back hard and maintain a double digit lead the rest of the game. The Titans ultimately handed the Hornets their seventh loss on the season with a 81-68 victory.
Nick Minnerath led all scorers with 22 points. Three other Titans also scored in double digits: Juwan Howard Jr. scored 16, Ray McCallum Jr. scored 15, and P.J. Boutte scored 11.
Defensively, Doug Anderson led the Titans with a pair of steals and a pair of blocks. Juwan Howard Jr. also had two assists and two steals. Ray McCallum Jr. had a solid night adding eight assists and a steal to his 15 points.
Overall, the Titans played another beautiful game and demonstrated the team's talent. Although they currently sit seventh in the Horizon league, the conference season has yet to open up and the talent that the Titans bring to conference opponents should be enough to position the boy's from McNichols into a possible NCAA berth.
The Titans play next against Akron at Calihan Hall on December 15th. The game will be featured on FSN Detroit. Tip off is set for 12:00 pm EST.
On December 17th, the Titans will play at Syracuse in the first part of the Gotham Classic. Coverage for the game will be held on ESPNU. Tip off is at 7:00 pm EST.