Antoine Davis has finally found his way, and so has Detroit Mercy basketball
Antoine Davis has no problem shooting, but he had a big problem scoring.
At least, that was the case in the first half of this season for Detroit Mercy's junior guard. Through seven games, he was 7-for-57 on 3-pointers. That's less than a 15% success rate. In three of those games, he didn't make a 3-pointer. In his first two seasons, he had one game, total, in which he didn't make a 3-pointer.
"He hit rock bottom this year," said Detroit Mercy head coach Mike Davis, Antoine's dad. "I'm proud of him, because he kept his head up. The way he shot the ball earlier, most people would've never recovered.
"He's back to working. He understands that you get here through work. Nobody thought you were any good, but you worked like crazy."
Davis has picked it up the last seven games, as the Titans (6-8, 5-5 Horizon League) have not so coincidentally righted their own ship. He's 36-for-75 (48%) on 3-pointers in the last seven games.
That includes a 9-for-23 effort this weekend, in which Detroit Mercy swept Youngstown State to put together a modest three-game winning streak.
Davis had 25 and 24 points over the weekend, and on Monday was named Horizon League player of the week for the first time this season. On Saturday, he had two free throws late to help seal the come-from-behind victory.
Detroit Mercy, which has a bevy of upside transfers though it took a while to find some cohesiveness on the floor, now has won five of six since it had a two-week break, for a variety of COVID-19 reasons, and all of a sudden has an outside shot at landing a top-four spot in the league standings. That could earn the Titans a bye in the league tournament next month.
And even though it's not just the Antoine Davis Show this year, like the last two, it still starts with him — and his willingness to put in the extra work on his shot.
"I probably could've gotten arrested for child abuse, making him shoot, shoot, shoot," said Mike Davis, whose Titans host Purdue-Fort Wayne this weekend. "He shot 30,000 shots in a week, 18 different times. Your off-day was 1,000 shots. Now, 1,000 shots was what he was the most he was shooting.
"Now, he's back to really getting into the gym and working. That's what I'm most proud of."
Detroit Mercy's season revival is actually matched by its rival, Oakland.
The Golden Grizzlies also won their weekend series, against Purdue-Fort Wayne. Oakland has won five of six, and is 8-13 and 8-6 in league play after starting the season 0-9.
This weekend, Oakland got a big boost from a big freshman, Trey Townsend, who averaged 15 points and 10.5 rebounds in the series sweep to earn Horizon League freshman of the week honors for the second time this season. Towsend is a neat story. The forward from Oxford, since he was little, had his mind made up that he wanted to play for Oakland — where his father, Skip, once played, and actually helped lead the Golden Grizzlies to their first 20-win season (Greg Kampe's third year), back in 1987.
Townsend and Oakland host league leader Cleveland State (12-5, 12-2) this weekend in a significant series that could solidify the Golden Grizzlies' place in the top four.