Oakland and Detroit Mercy men’s basketball didn’t wait for the new year to turn the page.
After rocky runs through their nonconference slate, each has opened Horizon League play with 2-0 starts, made more impressive by each of the wins coming on the road.
Oakland started the season 4-9, capped off by a 30-point loss to Michigan State in a series that often has produced close games. It then went and won at Cleveland State, 89-77, before edging Youngstown State, 76-74, on Karmari Newman’s late 3-pointer.
Detroit Mercy, meanwhile, began the season 3-9, including six consecutive losses to teams from Ohio, before winning at Youngstown State, 78-66, and Cleveland State, 73-61, behind more great play from freshman phenom Antoine Davis — the Horizon League’s freshman of the week for the fourth time. Davis, the son of first-year head coach Mike Davis, is averaging 25.4 points, fourth in Division I.
These are key conference starts for Oakland and Detroit Mercy, picked to finish fourth and 10th in the Horizon League, respectively, in the preseason media rankings. This year, after all, the Horizon League is going to an eight-team postseason tournament, meaning the bottom two teams will be left out.
The Golden Grizzlies and Titans now get to unpack for a while, as each plays their next five games in the state — Oakland four at home, before a Jan. 19 game at Calihan Hall, and Detroit Mercy five at home.
Oakland next hosts Northern Kentucky on Thursday, while Detroit Mercy hosts Wright State the same night, with the foes switching for Saturday’s games.
Top 25 games
(At) No. 9 Florida State 87, Winthrop 76: Terance Mann scored 22 and Phil Cofer added 14, helping Florida State to its seventh straight victory.
The Seminoles have opened with a 12-1 record for the fourth time in school history, matching their best start.
Mann shot 10-of-11 from the floor, scoring 14 second-half points and grabbing seven rebounds. Cofer made four of his five shots in the first half but missed all the in the second.
Adam Pickett scored 19 and Charles Falden added 15 for Winthrop (8-5), whose four-game winning streak ended.
(At) No. 10 Virginia Tech 81, Notre Dame 66: Ty Outlaw hit three 3-pointers in a 22-9 second-half run and Virginia Tech pulled away.
Kerry Blackshear Jr. led the way with 21 points, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Ahmed Hill scored 17 apiece and Outlaw finished with 14 for the Hokies (12-1, 1-0 ACC). Virginia Tech led just 49-44 before Alexander-Walker sparked the run with a pair of driving baskets.
T.J. Gibbs scored 19 points, 13 in the second half, as Notre Dame (10-4, 0-1) had its four-game winning streak snapped. D.J. Harvey added 16 and Nate Laszewski had 14.
(At) St. John’s 89, No. 16 Marquette 69: Shamorie Ponds scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half, dominating a highly anticipated matchup between two of the nation’s top guards, and St. John’s rebounded impressively from its first loss of the season.
Marvin Clark II, a former Michigan State forward, had 22 points and Mustapha Heron added all 16 of his after halftime for the Red Storm (13-1, 1-1 Big East), who snapped Marquette’s eight-game winning streak.
With leading scorer Markus Howard held to eight points on 2-for-15 shooting, the Golden Eagles (11-3, 0-1) got blown out in their conference opener. Howard entered averaging 25.1 points per game, best in the Big East and ranked fifth in the country.
Joey Hauser had 15 points to lead the way for Marquette, which went 6-for-21 from 3-point range (28.6 percent).
Central Michigan senior forward Reyna Frost was named Mid-American Conference West Division player of the week after recording two more double-doubles (that’s six straight games) as the Chippewas split a pair of games, beating Miami (Fla.) and losing to Tulane.
Associated Press contributed