First-half run fuels UD victory in Horizon tournament
Detroit — With sophomore leading scorer Paris Bass on the bench for the first 35 minutes for violation of team rules, two seniors stepped up in a big way as the University of Detroit basketball team used a big first half run to propel itself to a 92-79 first-round win over Youngstown State in the Horizon League Championships Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.
Carlton Brundidge scored a career-high 28 points and Anton Wilson had 23 as the Titans’ elder statesmen kept the season alive for at least one more day.
With the win,UD moves on to Sunday’s second round of the conference tournament, where it will play third-seeded Wright State, which crushed the University of Illinois-Chicago, 74-43, in the first round.
UD split the season series (1-1) against Wright State, winning 75-68 at Calihan Hall in January. A win on Sunday would set up a semifinal showdown with rival Oakland on Monday night.
Brundidge shot 12-for-22 from the field and got big baskets at the rim to seal the deal for UD before 5,247 at Joe Louis Arena.
“I’m not a 3-point shooter,” Brundidge said. “Getting to the rack is my strength, and coach always tells us to turn down good shots for great shots.”
“His play was key,” UD coach Ray McCallum said. “He made it sound so simple, but he finished plays. His ability to attack was a huge factor.”
YSU cut the lead to six at 77-71 on a pair of Matt Donlan (12 points) free throws with 5:38 remaining, but Wilson answered with a 3-pointer to push the UD lead back to nine.
The Penguins never got closer.
At the tip, YSU got off to a hot start from the outside, but it was the Titans’ relentlessness in the paint that eventually sparked an 18-2 run midway through the first half.
With Brundidge and Josh McFolley getting to the rim at will, that opened up the outside for Wilson, who cashed in with three first-half 3-pointers.
“It definitely got me in my rhythm,” Wilson said. “My teammates bring the success to me.”
Wilson and Brundidge both finished the first half with 13, while McFolley poured in 11.
The Titans lived in the paint and on second chance points all night. They outscored the Penguins, 52-24, in the paint while gathering 17 offensive rebounds that led to 22 second-chance points.
Jaleel Hogan did his fair share of the dirty work, netting 15 points and grabbing seven rebounds before fouling out late.
“We have a team that can spread you out and shoot the three,” McCallum said. “But we have guys that can drive the ball, so that makes it tough on the other team. I was able to go into the locker room and say we had 10 assists, we made the ball move, and when we do that, good things happen.”
Bass came in midway through the second half and scored seven points in limited action. McCallum would not elaborate on what team rule Bass violated and said he didn’t know if he would start his biggest offensive weapon on Sunday.
Morse led the way for the Penguins with 26 points.
Horizon League tournament
At Joe Louis Arena
Saturday's first round
No. 4 Green Bay 65, No. 9 Cleveland State 53
No. 5 Milwaukee 86, No. 8 Northern Kentucky 69
No. 3 Wright State 74, No. 10 Illinois-Chicago 42
No. 6 Detroit 92, No. 7 Youngstown State 79
Sunday's second round
No. 4 Green Bay vs. No. 5 Milwaukee, 1 p.m.
No. 3 Wright State vs. No. 6 Detroit, 3:30 p.m.
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.