Romeo Weems scored 27 points Saturday to pace three New Haven players in double figures and lead the Rockets to a 70-58 victory over U-D Jesuit in the Calihan Challenge, a series of basketball games between Macomb Area Conference and Catholic League teams at the University of Detroit Mercy.
DePaul recruit Weems, who led his school to state final-four appearances as a sophomore and junior, made a three-point play to give the Rockets a 58-41 lead midway through the fourth quarter, and the 6-foot-7 wing added two free throws and a field goal moments later for a 62-45 edge as New Haven won its season opener and its third Calihan Challenge game in as many years.
Ronald Jeffery III had 17 points and Brent Wiles 12 for the Rockets, who beat De La Salle in a 2017 Calihan Challenge contest and Detroit Loyola two years ago.
Julian Dozier led U-D Jesuit with 16 points, but he left the game with an injury in the third quarter. Alil Stewart added 10 points. The Cubs played the entire game without injured senior forward Jalen Thomas.
“We came out a little shaky at first, but we kept playing, kept pushing,” Weems said. “We didn’t play our best game. We’ve got to get in shape, keep working.”
Weems also had 14 rebounds and five blocked shots. Jeffery made five assists and Wiles took nine rebounds as the MAC finished 2-3 in the Calihan Challenge, with the other victory scored by Roseville.
Weems asserted himself in the third quarter. He scored off a post-up, made a 3-point goal and added a three-point play when he converted an offensive rebound, the last of those plays giving the Rockets a 44-32 lead with 3:12 left.
Taking over for Weems, Jeffery gave New Haven another boost. He drew a charging foul against Daniel Friday with 2:25 left, made a twisting layup on the ensuing possession, and then drained a 3 from the left corner for a 49-32 lead.
U-D Jesuit scored the last six points of the second quarter, and New Haven took a 34-30 lead into the break.
The Cubs dominated the early stages of the game, but Wiles’ 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer pulled New Haven within 14-13.
And then the Rockets made a move.
Jeffery made a 3-pointer from the corner; Wiles scored on a putback and Weems got his first field goal of the game as the Rockets went on a 7-2 run for a 20-16 lead.
Later, Eddie Dandridge III scored off his own miss and Weems threw down two dunks during a surge that gave New Haven a 34-22 lead and prompted a disgusted U-D Jesuit coach Pat Donnelly to call timeout make wholesale substitutions.
Weems’ first dunk came off an alley-oop feed from Jeffery, and the New Haven senior was assessed a technical foul for hanging on the rim.
There were no such issues on the second slam, as Weems took a lead pass from Jeffery and threw down an uncontested dunk with one hand.