Wednesday, October 20, 2021

FINAL: MSU 83, Detroit Mercy 76, Spartans pull away in crunch time

December 4, 2020
<p>Sophomore guard Rocket Watts (2) moves with the ball during the game against the Detroit Titans on Dec. 4, 2020, at the Breslin Center. The Spartans were tied with the Titans at halftime, 35-35.</p>

Sophomore guard Rocket Watts (2) moves with the ball during the game against the Detroit Titans on Dec. 4, 2020, at the Breslin Center. The Spartans were tied with the Titans at halftime, 35-35.

Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

By the saving graces of sophomore guard Rocket Watts, No. 8 Michigan State men’s basketball pulled away with a win against Detroit Mercy, 83-76, Friday night at the Breslin Center.

Following a win against No. 6 Duke, MSU struggled against in-state opponent Detroit Mercy. The Spartans committed 17 turnovers, 11 of which occurred in the first half, and UDM capitalized, stealing 10 points off these Spartan giveaways. 

Gabe Brown, in his first start of the season, opened the game with a three that initiated the Spartans' first lead. 

Despite leading for the majority of the start, Detroit Mercy proved they could hang in the Breslin. The Titans brought it within two after graduate guard Marquell Fraser capitalized off an MSU turnover.

Out of a timeout on the next play, Detroit Mercy’s junior guard Antoine Davis, who proved to be a lot to handle for the Spartans, tied it at 24 with a layup.

On the following Spartan possession, the team saw multiple good looks from behind the three-point line; however, no Spartan seemed to find a rhythm on offense.

UDM would take their first lead of the game on the next possession from a layup by Davis. 

Davis, the son of UDM Head Coach Mike Davis, was hot against the Spartans. His quick agility on both sides of the court threw the Spartans off and made it difficult for MSU to pull away again. Davis would end the night with 24 points, being the leader in his team's tight pursuit against MSU.

Halftime would creep up as MSU still struggled to pull away. The Spartans had trouble on the boards and looked much less poised from the field than they did at the start. 

The Spartans would enter the half tied to the Titans at 35. 

Redshirt junior forward Joey Hauser put up seven straight points coming out of the locker room in the second half, but even his consistency couldn’t pull the Spartans away as the Titans snatched any lead MSU pulled during their following possessions. 

The half continued to be a back and forth affair, until Watts saved MSU. 

Watts sealed his performance with a clean assist to Brown on the fast break that resulted in a layup.

Watts returned to the Titans' territory with a notorious slap of the floor, bringing energy back into the Michigan State team that couldn't seem to find it all night.

Watts would finish the night with 23 points and four assists.

MSU will host another in-state opponent, Western Michigan at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

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