Rocket Watts scored a career-high 23 points and No. 8 Michigan State started out flat against Detroit Mercy but avoided a huge upset, winning 83-76 on Friday night.
The Spartans (4-0) were coming off a road win over No. 6 Duke earlier this week.
The Titans (0-1) led by five points midway through the second half of a closely contested game with 10 lead changes and nine ties. Detroit Mercy’s last win over a Top 10 team on the road was in 1979 at Marquette with future NBA players, including Earl Cureton and the late Terry Duerod.
Detroit was led by Antoine Davis, who scored 24 points on 10-of-26 shooting while playing for his father, former Indiana coach Mike Davis. Matt Johnson scored a career-high 20 points, Marquell Fraser had 11 points and 12 rebounds and Bud Kuol fouled out with 12 points for the Titans.
Michigan States Gabe Brown scored 16 points, Aaron Henry had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Joey Hauser added 10 points.
Detroit Mercy: The Horizon League team played its first game after having three canceled due to COVID-19 issues and can build a lot of confidence off this performance.
Michigan State: Coming off the school’s first win at Duke, a letdown was not surprising. It still won’t sit well with coach Tom Izzo.
Despite the lackluster win, Michigan State will likely avoid slipping in the Top 25.
Detroit Mercy plays at Notre Dame on Sunday night.
Michigan State hosts Western Michigan on Sunday night.
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