Detroit — The deepest and one of the most talented teams in the Horizon League looked neither talented nor deep Monday night at Calihan Hall.
The University of Detroit Titans turned soft before a telling 64-53 loss to Wright State that killed any slight Horizon title hopes. Now the canyon is too deep and too many obstacles are in the way.
"It is grind time as you head into February and March," Titans coach Ray McCallum said. "This is where you separate the men and the boys."
The Titans hardly looked like men as they got punched in the face to begin the game and the second half
This was nerd night at Calihan and horn-rimmed glasses and pocket protectors were not the most unsightly things in the house. The Titans (10-12, 3-4) were.
Detroit's two leading scorers — freshman Paris Bass and senior Juwan Howard Jr. — combined for 11 points on 4-for-16 shooting. Bass finished with seven points and Howard had four.
Howard is a dangerous player who draws double and sometimes triple teams. The problem is few UD players were able to fill the void and teammates became frustrated as Wright State peppered them with 11 3-point field goals and picked apart the Titans defense.
Bass hardly looked like the four-time freshman of the week. He didn't score until hitting a free throw with 4:00 remaining in the game. By that time the Raiders were up 56-44 and were more interested in running clock than running up the score.
Here is the most shocking part. The Raiders players were just as surprised about their good start as the Titans. Wright State roared to a 31-13 lead and never trailed.
"We've actually been a team that gets off to a relatively slow start," said Wright State guard Kendall Griffin, who scored 20 points and made four of seven 3-point shots. "To get off to a good start was shocking, actually."
Frustrated UD supporters never know what they are going to get when they show up for games. There was the spirited loss to nationally ranked Wichita State and a blowout of rival Oakland. And then there was this.
Wright State (11-10, 3-4) hardly strikes fear into people, but it was more serious on this road trip, which concludes Wednesday at Oakland. The Raiders' ball movement was superior and their defensive intensity gave the Titans fits.
The Titans got off to a horrendous start with four turnovers and two blown layups in the first four minutes of the game.
It didn't get much better after that.
"We had the same starting lineup," McCallum said. "We changed it five or six games ago but as of late we have had good starts with that group. It was one of the first times we had a slow start."
Anton Wilson came off the bench and led Detroit with 15 points and four rebounds. Take his stats out of the equation and his teammates shot just 34.2 percent from the floor.
It was a bad evening but the Titans vow to turn a bad game into a good run.
"We have to stay tough and consistent," Wilson said.
Detroit was neither on Monday.