The Detroit Titans surprisingly routed the Florida Atlantic Owls tonight 77-44. Juwan Howard Jr. lead the Titans with 14 points and freshman Matthew Grant also added 14 points to the blowout win. However, it was the tremendous defensive played by the Titans as a team that head coach Ray McCallum really liked.
“It was a great team for us,” said McCallum. “I just thought we really put 40 minutes together tonight and we played on both ends. Our defensive intensity really set the tone.”
The Titans forced 23 turnovers against Florida Atlantic and looked very sharp on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively, they were running the court out in transition and were making quick and smart decisions.
Another key factor to the game was senior forward Ugochukwu Njoku, who let his presence be known on the defensive end.
“I knew to get myself going, I had to start on the defensive end,” said Njoku. “Coach has really challenged me to get myself going on that end, so I just came out and tried to do everything I can.”
Njoku finished with six points but had nine rebounds along with three blocks.
The Titans faced the Toledo Rockets in the second game of the tournament. Detroit had a 60-41 lead in the second half but the Rockets came storming back. The Rockets were down one when Julius Brown hit a jumper with 6 seconds left to give Toledo a one point lead. Brown then got fouled on the shot and hit the free throw. The Titans had a shot at the end, but it fell short to give the Rockets the victory.
“It was a heartbreaking defeat, the locker room is down, as anyone I’ve ever seen, said Titans head coach Ray McCallum. “Guys are really disappointed.”
However, the Titans had to respond quickly, taking on Stony Brook in the tournament finale. The Titans responded pretty well but came up on the short end again, losing 104-102 in three overtimes. There were many big performances in this game. For the Titans, senior forward Evan Bruinsma had 32 points and 14 rebounds, Juwan Howard Jr. added 25 points and Carlton Brudidge add 19. For Stony Brook, Jameel Warney had 32 and 21 rebounds. Anthony Jackson 24 points for the Seawolves.
“I’m really proud of my guys effort,” said McCallum. “It was just a heartbreaking loss for us.”
The Titans ended the weekend with a 1-2 record but the Titans showed highlights of how well they are able to play. Toledo and Stony Brook are solid mid-major teams and the Titans gave them all they could handle. This a young team that seems to be getting better and better after every game. Hopefully, the weekend will serve as a positive learning experience.
The Titans will take on the South Florida next Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern time.