Detroit Mercy was picked to finish 10th in the Horizon League preseason poll, but nobody expected freshman guard Antoine Davis, a three-star recruit from Houston, to have such a humongous impact.
The son of first-year coach Mike Davis almost matched Wright State bucket for bucket in a 79-58 win Thursday, pouring in 48 points against a variety of defenses.
He was 15 of 24 from the field, 10 of 15 on 3-pointers and 8 of 9 on free throws while almost singlehandedly sending the Raiders to their most lopsided loss of the season.
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“I’ve been through games like this with players that do that. It really is less about that and more about how it impacts the other parts of the game,” Wright State coach Scott Nagy said on his post-game radio show.
“We didn’t lose the game because one kid went off. We lost the game because offensively we were anemic.”
The Raiders, 7-9 overall and 1-2 in the league, went 4 of 22 on 3-pointers and had 18 turnovers.
They still haven’t won a road game, falling to 0-7 away from the Nutter Center. After winning their first seven league games last season, they’re off to their worst three-game start since also going 1-2 in 2008-09.
Loudon Love had 15 points, Mark Hughes 13 and Bill Wampler 11.
The Raiders led by nine early in the game, but Davis had 22 points in the first half, including a 3-pointer as time expired for a 34-27 lead.
Wright State scored the first three points of the second half, but Detroit (6-9, 3-0) surged to a 49-35 lead with 13:27 to go. After a bucket by Wampler cut it to 50-44 with 9:57 left, the Titans went on a 14-1 run over the next four minutes to put the game away.
“We’ve got experienced kids, and we’re not playing with any confidence at all. It’s blowing me away right now,” Nagy said.
Davis no doubt blew away fans during his onslaught. He came within one point of the school record and five of the all-time scoring mark for a Wright State opponent (Central Michigan’s Tommie Johnson had 53 on Dec. 22, 1987).
He played 38 minutes and was on the floor at the end even with a sizeable lead. The crowd was urging him to go for 50, but he had a turnover with under a minute to go, and the Titans followed their coach’s instructions to hold the ball for the last possession.
Still, Nagy wasn’t happy.
“They leave him in there when they’re up 20 to try to get his 50 points. We’d better remember it,” he said. “Our kids better remember that, and we better make it right.”
Davis was averaging 25.4 points, which is fourth in the country and 3.6 points per game higher than the next-best scorer in the league.
He was second nationally in 3-pointers with 4.86 per game while shooting nearly 40 percent. His previous season high was 42 against Loyola (Md.).
He averaged 23.0 points as a senior and first committed to Houston, but he decided to become a walk-on at Detroit when his father was named coach.
“We’re kind of a mess right now, but I’ve been through this enough to know it can change in a heartbeat,” Nagy said. “But we’re going to need our older guys to get some things straight on our team and play with more confidence.”