"This is a sweet win," MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. "When you look back in March, it will be an even sweeter win. We beat a good team on their home floor today. I am really proud of the guys for stepping up and making plays at the end of the game."
After battling through some injuries, the Bulldogs were finally back at full force Saturday. Still, MSU had to work through Rodney Hood with massive foul trouble and Renardo Sidney with a stomach virus.
For MSU, Arnett Moultrie and Brian Bryant, each of whom missed Tuesday's win over Florida Atlantic, paced the Bulldogs with 17 points apiece. Moultrie also pulled down 13 rebounds for his Southeastern Conference-best sixth double-double of the season. For Bryant, his afternoon matched a season-high in points. Also in double figures were Sidney with 16 points and Dee Bost with 13 points.
"Brian really gave us a spark off the bench today," Stansbury said. "Renardo was sick today but he really gave us all he could. Rodney is a freshman and he really struggled to find a rhythm today because the foul trouble. But he steps up and makes a big shot.
"We have a one-point lead late, Arnett drives to the goal, gets a foul, goes to the line and makes the free throws. Those are game-winning plays. It was great to see our guys find a way to step up and make those plays."
The Bulldogs scored 10 straight points to take a 15-7 lead with 13:04 left in the first half. MSU would not trail again in the contest. However, the Titans battled back for force three first-half ties. After MSU built a 15-point lead in the game's final half, the Titans again fought back for two more ties but could not turn the corner.
"You knew they would make runs at you," Stansbury said. "It was all a matter of how you respond. We out-rebound them by five in the contest and only make eight turnovers. Those are the key statistics in the game."
Down 15-7, the Titans bounced back with a 10-3 run to cut the deficit to 18-17. Back-to-back baskets by Bryant ran the lead back to five before the Titans managed to pull even at 31. A jumper by Sidney and dunk by Sidney pushed the Maroon and White to a 39-36 lead at halftime.
To start the second half, MSU found another gear in the Motor City. A 15-3 run over the first four minutes of the half ran the MSU advantage to 54-39. Bost, Sidney and Jalen Steele each hit 3-point baskets during the run.
Still, Detroit refused to go away. A 12-2 run quickly chipped the lead to 56-51. Again down 10, the Titans pieced together a 12-3 run to close within 66-65. The teams were then tied at 70 and 75.
Hood's go-ahead jumper fell through with 17.7 seconds left. Moultrie then had a monster block which led to a rebound by Bost. Bost hit both free throws after being fouled. Moultrie then hit one of two foul shots with three seconds left to close out the win.
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 30 of 61 shots from the field (49.2 percent), 8 of 24 shots from 3-point range (33.3 percent) and 12 of 19 shots from the foul line (63.2 percent). The Titans hit 26 of 59 shots from the field (44.1 percent), 7 of 20 shots from 3-point range (35.0 percent) and 16 of 21 shots from the foul line (76.2 percent).
MSU held a 38-33 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 17 assists and eight turnovers, while the Titans had 12 assists and nine turnovers.
Detroit received 17 points each from Chase Simon and Horizon League Player of Year candidate Ray McCallum. Doug Anderson had 13 points, while Eli Holman had 12 points for the Titans.
MSU plays Northwestern State at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.