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Oakland Grizzlies upend Titans in rivalry game

On January 23, 2018

Photo courtesy of Detroit Titans Sports Info

 

BY PEYTON THOMAS / VN SPORTS WRITER

The latest installment of the Metro Series Rivalry between Detroit Mercy and Oakland took Calihan Hall by storm Saturday, but the Titans fell short, 92-86.

Coming into the contest, both teams had been on a roll.

The Golden Grizzlies had won their previous three games, and the Titans had taken two of their last three, including one on a game-winning layup as time expired to beat Cleveland State.

Saturday’s game was expected to be a shootout, and it was.

The crowd was buzzing, with the cheers of clashing student sections echoing throughout Calihan prior to tip-off.

“It was definitely what it was built up to be,” said Titan Kameron Chatman, a redshirt junior, who was competing in his first Metro Series.

Chatman led the way for the Titans with 24 points, 10 rebounds and three takeaways in 38 minutes played.

Sophomore guard Corey Allen matched Chatman with 24 of his own, including five for nine from three-point range as well as a four-point play late in the second half.

Strong defense from OU senior guard Kendrick Nunn, however, helped put Oakland up by 21 at halftime.

The performance was not lost on Titan coach Bacari Alexander.

“You have got to always be humble enough to credit the defense of your opponent,” he said.

But the Titans wouldn’t go away easily.

They came out of halftime determined to will their way back into the game, and they did, beginning with a couple three-pointers from Jack Ballantyne early in the second.

The Titans shot 68 percent from the field in the second and were seven for 12 from beyond the arc.

“There was spirited discussion at halftime along the lines of playing with passion, playing with pride,” said Alexander. “When we were able to get out in transition, we were able to get a 15-point advantage in the second half.”

The Titans outscored the Golden Grizzles in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to erase the OU lead.

They lost 92-86 in regulation, despite trimming Oakland’s lead to just four due in part to their three-point shooting.

Experience may have also played a factor.

Four Titans were experiencing the Metro Series rivalry for the first time.

“On some level, you’re trying to just steady the mindset of the kids emotionally, making sure they’re not out there playing ‘my turn’ basketball,” Alexander said.

The Titans, 6-15 overall, will complete a quick two-game road trip this week before returning to Calihan on Feb. 2 to face IUPUI.

They will get another crack at the Golden Grizzlies Feb. 9 at Oakland. 

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