PREVIEW: George Washington at @DuqMBB
Jan. 1, 2018
Duquesne (10-4, 1-0), winner of eight of its last nine, hosts George Washington (8-6, 1-0) in its first game of the new year on Wednesday, Jan. 3 at 7:00 p.m. at the Palumbo Center (A-10 Network). The Dukes, who tied last season's win total (10-22) in a 70-62 Atlantic 10-opening win over Dayton on Saturday, have won seven in a row at home. The streak is tied for second-longest in the 30-year history of the A.J. Palumbo Center. The Dukes are looking for their first 11-4 start since the 2008-09 NIT team (21-13) opened with the same record.
Keith Dambrot is off to the best start by a first-year Duquesne coach since Donald "Dudey" Moore opened 12-2 in his first season in 1948-49. Dambrot is the 11th coach since Moore - who coached Keith's father, Sid - left the Bluff following the 1957-58 season.
Duquesne ranked 7th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.283) through Dec. 31.
The Dukes have outrebounded 12 of 14 opponents, including the last 11 in a row.
DU has three wins when shooting under 40%. To put that in perspective, Duquesne won just three times in the previous five seasons (45 games) when shooting under 40%.
Duquesne is 9-1 when holding opponents under 70 points and 10-0 when leading with 5:00 left.
The Dukes, who averaged 14.2 turnovers per game last season, have cut their turnovers to 12.0/g. through 14 games.
Eric Williams Jr., who has been named A-10 Rookie of the Week twice this season, ranks sixth among D-I freshmen in rebounds per game (9.7) through New Year's Eve. Four of the five ahead of him, Deandre Ayton of Arizona, Marvin Bagley of Duke, Brandon McCoy of UNLV & Mo Bamba of Texas were ESPN.com 5-star recruits. The other, Oshea Brissett of Syracuse, was a 4-star.
Rene Castro-Caneddy, who posted his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 assists vs. Delaware State, has 49 assists and 23 turnovers on the season.
Duquesne is 8-2 since grad transfer Chas Brown made his debut on Dec. 1 vs. Pitt. Brown, who was Coppin State's MVP last season, missed the first four games with a foot injury. The 6-8, 235-pounder is currently averaging 4.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in 16.5 min/g.
Tarin Smith is 17-of-38 (.447) from the 3-point arc in his past nine games. The 3-point makes are six more than his total in 32 g. last season (11-of-52).
Mike Lewis II has scored in double digits in 11 straight games.
This is the 80th meeting in a series that dates to Jan. 21, 1932 ... GW leads the series 51-28 (44-23 lead in Atlantic 10 regular season) ... in games played in Pittsburgh, the series is tied at 19-19 ... GW has won nine of the past 10 meetings, including the last five in a row ... GW has a 3-2 edge in the past five in Pittsburgh ... the Colonials have swept the series in each of the past two seasons ... Duquesne's last series win was on Feb. 11, 2015 by a 78-62 score at Palumbo Center.
DU has scored over 70 just three times in the past 10 meetings ... once in a 78-62 win at Palumbo Center in 2015, once when GW rallied from 13 down to win at Palumbo Center in 2016 and last year.
Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot is 0-1 all-time against George Washington, with the loss coming when he was head coach at Central Michigan (87-66 on Dec. 4, 1992 at the Hatter Classic in DeLand, Fla.).
GW, in its second season under head coach Maurice Joseph, is coming off a 70-64 Atlantic 10-opening home win over Saint Joseph's on Saturday ... this is just the third road game for the Colonials who lost at Florida State on Nov. 14 (67-87) and at Penn State on Dec. 9 (54-74) ... GW is led by preseason Second Team All- A-10 pick, 6-8, guard Yuta Watanabe (14.4, 7.1) ... Watanabe had 18 points and nine rebounds in the win over Saint Joe's.
NOTING THE DUKES
Duquesne is in its first season under head coach Keith Dambrot. Dambrot came to the Bluff after 13 highly-successful seasons at Akron, where he led the Zips to a 305-139 record (23.5 wins per season) including 10 postseason appearances (3 NCAA, 5 NIT, 1 CBI & 1 CIT). Dambrot's 10-4 start is the best by a DU first-year coach since Dudey Moore went 12-2 in his first 14 games in 1948-49. Moore coached Keith's father, Sid, from 1952-54 during his highly-successful 10 seasons on the Bluff. There were 10 coaches between Moore and Dambrot.
The 2017-18 Dukes are limiting opponents to 63.6 points per game. It is the lowest opponent scoring average since 1962 (61.1). Only four opposing teams have topped 70 points against Duquesne this season. The 63.6 ppg. average is a +10.6 ppg. improvement over last season (74.2 ppg.).
Duquesne, which matched last year's win total (10-22) in its 14th game - a 70-62 win over Dayton, is looking for its first 11-4 start since the 2008-09 NIT team (21-13) opened with the same record.
Duquesne had its full roster for the first time this season on Dec. 9 vs. Delaware State. JC transfer Marko Krivacevic missed seven games with a broken bone in his wrist. Grad transfer Chas Brown missed the first four games with a foot injury and senior forward Eric James (knee) missed the Cornell game. Sophomore forward Kellon Taylor, who spent the fall as a receiver for DU's FCS football team, joined the team just prior to Thanksgiving (he was not in uniform for the first two games).
Duquesne has received considerable contributions from a pair of freshmen. Six-five swingman Eric Williams Jr. (14.2, 9.7) leads the Dukes with a 9.7 rpg. average - the highest rpg. average by a Duke since Damian Saunders averaged 11.3 rpg. in 2010. The versatile swingman, who has five double-doubles, is third on the team with 23 3-pointers and has thrown down a team-high 12 dunks. Through New Year's Eve, Williams Jr. ranked sixth among Division I freshmen in rebounds per game. Six-nine forward Tydus Verhoeven had the best game of his young career with 12 points, nine rebounds a freshman record-tying seven blocks and three assists vs. Robert Morris on Nov. 19. The 6-8 Verhoeven, who added five more blocks vs. Mississippi Valley State, ranks eighth among the nation's top freshman shot blockers at 2.21 bpg.
LAST GAME DEC. 30 DUQUESNE 70, DAYTON 62
There were eight ties and seven lead changes before Duquesne took the lead for good on a Chas Brown dunk with 4:35 left. The Dukes outscored the Flyers 10-1 over the final 4:35.
The eight-point final margin was DU's largest of the game.
DU trailed by as many as eight in the first half, before closing the half with a 16-4 run to take a 38-34 lead.
The win was Duquesne's seventh in a row at home, tying the second-longest home win streak in the 30-year history of the Palumbo Center.
Rene Castro-Caneddy scored 16 of his game-high 21 points in the first half.
The Dukes limited the Flyers to 1-of-13 from 3-point in the second half (5-of-26 for the game).
Duquesne held Dayton to an opponent season low 28 second-half points.