Tuesday's roundup: Howard comes off bench to fuel UD

Jim Spadafore
Special to The Detroit News

Rutgers forward Kadeem Jack tries to block a shot by Maryland’s Dez Wells during the first half. Wells had 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Detroit — Detroit Coach Ray McCallum wanted to send a strong message to star player Juwan Howard Jr.

It didn't work at first, but it did when it counted most.

Howard didn't start Tuesday —the first time he hasn't started in two years — but the senior forward came up big late to help Detroit to a 77-67 victory over Youngstown State in a Horizon League tournament first-round game at Calihan Hall.

Detroit (15-17, 7-9 Horizon) advances to the second round at 9:30 p.m. Friday against Cleveland State (17-13) as the tournament moves to Valparaiso.

Howard, selected to the all-Horizon League second team, scored 16 of his 20 in the last 16 minutes 19 seconds. Sophomore guard Chris Jenkins had 21 points and nine rebounds.

Trailing 65-63, Howard drove for a underhand layup and then Jenkins made two free throws to give the Titans a 67-65 lead — their first lead of the game. Howard then made a fadeaway 16-foot jumper as the Titans closed the game with an 18-4 run.

"We wanted to motivate Juwan and I think we got him," McCallum said. "What a great way to finish his career here (Calihan Hall). He has great composure, a great closer for us."

Howard, son of the former Michigan Fab Five standout, had no problem not starting.

"If I have to come off the bench it's all right as long as we win," Howard said.

Jenkins came off the bench to shoot 8-of-12 and 4-of-4 from the free throw line.

"Chris moves at a different speed and it showed in the game," McCallum said. "Chris could easily be a starter. Our whole bench played great."

Awesome in fact.

Detroit's bench outscored Youngstown State, 54-9.

Paris Paris, the Horizon League freshman of the year, had 11 points and three blocked shots. Bobby Hain led Youngstown (11-21) with 14 points.

After entering with the game with 14:27 left in the first quarter, Howard didn't come out until there was 28.6 seconds remaining. Howard started slow, missing his first four shots before scoring four in the last 1:01 of the first half.

Detroit won all three games against Youngstown this season.

"The stakes are high ... we win or go home," McCallum said.

More state men

(At) Central Michigan 85, Toledo 77: John Simons scored 28, Chris Fowler 24 and Braylon Rayson 21 for Central Michigan (21-6, 12-5), which passed Toledo (19-10, 11-6) for the lead in the Mid-American Conference West Division.

Eastern Michigan 67, (at) Ball State 60: Raven Lee scored 20 and Mike Talley 16 for Eastern Michigan (18-12, 7-10 Mid-American Conference).

(At) Northern Illinois 65, Western Michigan 63: Aaron Armstead scored 17 points, including four of five from 3-point range, to help lead Northern Illinois. David Brown scored 14 for Western (18-12, 9-8 MAC).

Big Ten

Iowa 77, (at) Indiana 63: Aaron White had 21 points while Jarrod Uthoff added 14 and Gabriel Olanseni 13 for the Hawkeyes (20-10, 11-6 Big Ten), who have won five straight. Nick Zeisloft scored 15, all from 3-point range, and James Blackmon, Jr. finished with 14 for the Hoosiers (19-11, 9-8), who have lost two in a row.

Top 25 men

No. 1 Kentucky 72, (at) Georgia 64: Kentucky overcame a nine-point deficit in the second half to keep its perfect season intact. Karl-Anthony Towns led the Wildcats (30-0, 17-0 Southeastern Conference) with 19 points. They were really challenged in this one by Georgia (19-10, 10-7), which was led by Nemanja Djurisic's 18 points.

No. 10 Maryland 60, (at) Rutgers 50: Dez Wells scored six straight after Rutgers tied the game late in the second half and Maryland (25-5, 13-4 Big Ten) won its sixth straight and sent Rutgers (10-20, 2-15) to its 13th straight loss.

No. 19 North Carolina 81, Georgia Tech 49: Joel Berry had a career-high 15 points for North Carolina (21-9, 11-6 Atlantic Coast Conference), which completed a sweep of Georgia Tech (12-18, 3-15).

Jim Spadafore is a freelance writer

News staff and wire services contributed