East Lansing, MI – The Michigan State Spartans return home following a 75-69 convincing victory over Duke to face an ole foe, Detroit Mercy.
Before MSU's road trip to Durham, NC, they defeated Eastern Michigan and Notre Dame; it's the first time since 2015-16, the Spartans have won their first three games of the season.
How To Watch
- Where: Breslin Center – East Lansing, MI
- When: Friday, Dec. 4, at 5:00 p.m.
- TV: Big Ten Network
Friday night's game is just the 62nd meeting between Michigan State and Detroit Mercy, including the first matchup since 2001.
The Spartans lead the all-time series, 45-16, but the Titans have won three of the last four, which features a triple-overtime win in 1996 when E.J. Haralson hit a game-winning shot at the buzzer.
"I never forget a loss, especially an in-state loss; never ever forget them," said Izzo. "I'm not sure it's going to have a lot to do with this game."
Tom Izzo holds a record of 631-241, in his 26th season as head coach of the Spartans, and entering his 21st year, Mike Davis is 371-284 (19-42 with Detroit Mercy).
Davis faces Izzo for the 14th time at his third different school.
Previously, he defeated Michigan State, leading a 9-6 Indiana team, upsetting No. 1 MSU in 2001 and again at Texas Southern in 2014 – the Tigers were 1-8 at the time.
"We just gotta be ready to play," Izzo said. "I think you've seen all over the country, upsets. I mean, this would be an upset, but there's been bigger upsets than this, especially when we don't know anything about their team."
A Look At Detroit Mercy
The Titans were supposed to open the season at an MTE (multi-team event) competing against Richmond, Kentucky, and Morehead State; however, all contests were canceled due to a staff member testing positive for COVID-19.
Now, Detroit Mercy will welcome the 2020 college basketball season inside the Breslin Center Friday afternoon.
In Davis' first two seasons, they won 19 games, but this year, he's got much more experience.
Five transfers including Noah Waterman (Niagara), Marquell Fraser (Idaho), Matt Johnson (St. Bonaventure), Taurean Thompson (Seton Hall), and Bul Kuol (Cal Baptist) are set to contribute.
He also expects big things from returning players Antoine Davis, a two-time First Team All-HL selection who led the league in scoring the last two years, and Dwayne Rose Jr., the nephew of NBA player Derrick Rose.
The junior guard ended last season on a high note finishing the final four games of contention averaging 31.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 2.0 steals per game while shooting 47.4% from the field.
A Look At Michigan State
If you thought the Spartans win over Duke was reminiscent of its game vs. Notre Dame, you weren't wrong.
Michigan State went on a 26-0 run against the Fighting Irish, cruising to a 10-point victory.
On Tuesday, MSU did something similar to Duke; in nearly eight minutes ending with the first half and leaking into the second, Michigan State hit the gas with a 27-7 run to put the Blue Devils away early.
"I told Mateen Cleaves I think we got a chance to be one of the best defensive teams since his day," said Izzo.
It was a decisive win.
So far, Michigan State has held its three opponents 36% shooting (26% from 3P) while forcing 31 turnovers.
MSU's rotations are becoming more apparent, with Rocket Watts, Joshua Langford, and Aaron Henry leading the way.
Junior captain Foster Loyer and Gabe Brown have contributed numerous amount of minutes off the bench.
Though, the front-court isn't set in stone yet, outside of Joey Hauser and Malik Hall playing considerable minutes.
Marcus Bingham Jr., Thomas Kithier, and Julius Marble have seen the floor, featuring a career-night from the sophomore forward.
Last year, opposing teams shot 46% against Detroit Mercy (36% from deep), and unless something changed, it will be all too easy for an experienced group of Spartans to poke holes in its gameplan.
Couple that with the suffocating defense Michigan State is currently playing and this one gets out of hand.