Friday’s roundup: Titans fall on Haywood’s night

Blake Meakin
Special to The News

Detroit — Spencer Haywood was one of the first college basketball players to leave early for the pros but he’s remembered for also winning an NBA title with the Lakers, an Olympic gold medal in Mexico City in 1968, and he was just elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last year.

Detroit Titans officials finally honored one of their greats Friday, putting his number 45 in the rafters of Calihan Hall.

The game that followed was less than memorable as in front of a crowd of 2,025, Detroit couldn’t overcome Northern Kentucky and fell 91-83.

In a game that saw 19 lead changes, the Norse just found a rhythm in the second half, which was too much for the Titans to match.

Despite the Titans holding a lead for more than half the game, they were outscored 47-38 in the second half in a game that was close most of the night.

“They had a balanced attack tonight,” Titans coach Ray McCallum said. “It comes down to stops and finishing. We’ve gotta finish at the free-throw line and gotta make layups and get the stops.”

The teams exchanged baskets early, with neither gaining larger than a four-point lead the first 12 minutes.

Both Jaleel Hogan for Detroit and Tyler White for Northern Kentucky (8-12, 4-5 Horizon) got hot, scoring 13 and 12 first-half points, respectively.

Hogan finished with 17 points for the Titans. Cole Murray led Northern Kentucky with 25.

With a tight first half winding down, it looked like the Norse were going to take a lead heading into the dressing room until Josh McFolley hit a buzzer-beater to put the Titans up 45-44 at halftime.

The second half saw the Norse in early foul trouble, with five fouls the first three minutes. That forced them to tone down their aggression.

The Titans (9-11, 3-6 Horizon) led by as many as six in the second half but Murray made two 3-pointers during a 13-4 run that gave the Norse an 84-78 lead with 3:26 left. The Titans missed three 3-pointers in the final 16 seconds.

“That’s our story,” McCallum said. “When we need them, we haven’t been able to close them out.”

(At) Oakland 89, Wright State 63: Kay Felder scored 33 and Martez Walker 19 for Oakland (14-8, 6-3 Horizon).

Blake Meakin is a freelance writer

News staff contributed