After missing the first 10 games of the season for Detroit, Eli Holman made his return to the lineup against Western Michigan on Thursday and was immediately the best player on the court. Holman exploded for 21 points in just 19 minutes of action, as he shot 10-of-14 from the field while also ripping down seven rebounds. Chase Simon was tremendous as well with 20 points, while Ray McCallum added 14 points and six assists. The Titans connected on 53.2 percent of their field goal attempts and scored 24 points from the foul line. They only committed eight turnovers as well, key to the triumph. Simon is scoring 16.8 ppg for Detroit, which is generating 75.9 ppg while allowing 71.4 ppg to opponents. The Titans are getting 14.7 ppg from McCallum, but they need to shoot better than their 29.4 percent from three- point range.
After averaging 19 points in his last two games, Tony Mitchell leads the Tide in scoring and rebounding with 15.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. JaMychal Green is second on the squad with 14.8 points per game while converting on 53.7 percent of his attempts and hauling in 6.9 rebounds per game. Over the summer, Green was teammates with Detroit's Ray McCallum on the USA Basketball World University Games team that competed in Shenzhen, China. Green averaged 12.6 points and 5.9 rebounds for the team while McCallum added 4.5 points per game. "He's a very talented guard," Green said. "He's quick, can shoot the ball from the three-point line with a great mid-range game. He's a great all-around player and our guards are going to have to be ready."
In pre-season predictions, Detroit was expected to finish second to Butler in the Horizon League. "I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen of Detroit so far," Grant said. "They’re a very talented team that’s coming off consecutive wins so they have momentum in their favor." Despite a subpar night against Dayton, the Tide’s defense remains one of the top in the nation by allowing just 55.4 points per game this season, the 12th best average in the nation. Only three of UA’s opponents have even reached the 60-point mark this season and three have failed to score 50 points. UA’s nine opponents have converted on just 36 per cent of their field goal attempts, the 11th lowest average in the nation.
Suddenly, Alabama’s home game today against Detroit looks more urgent than it did a week ago. That’s because the 16th-ranked Crimson Tide will be trying to break a two-game losing streak in the 5 p.m. tipoff, which will be televised on ESPNU. After a 7-0 start, including a championship in the Puerto Rico Tipoff, Alabama has lost at home to Georgetown and at Dayton. "For our guys, it’ll be good to play again," Tide coach Anthony Grant said. "Anytime you’re coming off a loss, there’s an anxiousness to get back on the court."
Detroit comes in with a 5-6 record, but that mark is deceptive. The Titans' 6-foot-10, 260-pound center, Eli Holman, is back after a 10-game suspension that opened the season. In his first game off the suspension, Holman scored 21 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked four shots in just 19 minutes of playing time in a 92-81 win over Western Michigan on Thursday night. "Just his presence brings balance to our game," UD coach Ray McCallum told The Detroit News after the Titans' win over WMU. "Eli's a very verbal player and helped us defensively. To get that kind of work done in 20 minutes shows how hard he played."
The list of players invited to try out for the USA team last summer for the World University Games looked like a Who's Who of college basketball. Except for Ray McCallum. Who's He? "I didn't really know who he was until we went to USAs," Alabama star JaMychal Green said. Long story short: They both made the team and ended up rooming together in August in China.
Alabama's stingy defense had an uninspiring effort its last time out, and coach Anthony Grant's team suffered a second consecutive defeat. It could be difficult for the 16th-ranked Crimson Tide to bounce back Sunday against a Detroit team that is looking to build on an impressive offensive showing in Eli Holman's season debut. After losing to Georgetown 57-55 on Dec. 1, ending a 24-game home winning streak, Alabama (7-2) fell 74-62 to Dayton on Wednesday in its first true road game of the season. The Tide let an opponent shoot better than 60 percent from the field for the first time since 1997, as the Flyers finished at 60.9 percent and went 10 of 19 from 3-point range. Alabama had been holding teams to 33.3 percent from the floor and 53.1 points per game to rank among the nation's top 10 in both categories. None of its previous eight opponents had topped 44 percent shooting or 64 points.