Even though it trailed by eight points early in the second quarter, East Lansing rallied to edge Detroit Martin Luther King 71-67 on Thursday in the Holiday Hoops Invitational at Michigan State’s Breslin Center.
Javon Haines and Ahmad Newsome scored 23 points each as the Trojans improved to 2-3.
“I told the guys we’re the best 1-3 team in the area, but we’ve got to build up confidence,” East Lansing coach Steve Finamore said. “We dug in on defense, came up with a couple loose balls and rebounded a little better and shared the basketball.”
Newsome scored 14 of his points in the first half, which ended with King (2-5) hitting a shot at the buzzer to lead 35-34.
Haines scored 14 of his points after the break, as the Trojans pulled ahead by eight on three occasions.
“A lot of times Javon’s the best player on the floor, and I tell him you’ve got to play like you’re the best player,” Finamore said.
The Crusaders trimmed the lead to 67-66 with 1:20 remaining.
“We got sloppy at the end,” Finamore said. “This is the first game where we had the lead at the end, and it’s a learning process.”
Finamore’s team prepared for the game by playing some alumni on Wednesday.
“We beat them, and I told the other coaches, ‘that’s going to help us tomorrow,’ ” he said.