PREVIEW: @DuqMBB at Fordham
Jan. 4, 2018
Duquesne (11-4, 2-0), winner of nine of its past 10, heads to the Bronx to face Fordham (6-8, 1-1) in a CBSSN nationally televised game on Saturday, Jan. 6 at 3:30 p.m. The Dukes, who eclipsed last season’s win total (10-22) with their 69-52 victory over George Washington on Wednesday, are looking for their first 12-4 start since the 2008-09 NIT team (21-13) opened with the same record. This is the best Atlantic 10 start for the Dukes since the 2010-11 team opened conference play with eight consecutive wins. DU, the last NCAA team to play a true road game, plays three of its next four on the road.
• The Dukes have not been outrebounded 13 of 15 games, including the last 12 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 10-1 when holding opponents under 70 points and 11-0 when leading with 5:00 left.
• The Dukes, who averaged 14.2 turnovers per game last season, have cut their turnovers to 11.1/g in 2017-18.
• Eric Williams Jr., a two-time A-10 Rookie of the Week, ranks fifth among D-I freshmen in rebounds per game (9.9) through Jan. 3. The four ahead of him, Deandre Ayton of Arizona, Marvin Bagley of Duke, Mo Bamba of Texas & Brandon McCoy of UNLV were all ESPN.com 5-star recruits.
• Eric Williams Jr. leads the A-10 in rebounding (9.9 rpg.). His six double-doubles are tied with VCU’s Justin Tillman for most in the conference.
• Rene Castro-Caneddy, who posted his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 assists vs. Delaware State, has 54 assists and 24 turnovers on the season.
• Duquesne is 9-2 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 4.5 points and 5.1 rebounds in 16.3 min/g.
• Tarin Smith’s 17 3-pointers are four shy of his career total of 21 in his first two college seasons (63 games).
• Duquesne’s eight-game home win streak is the second-longest in the 30-year history of the Palumbo Center. It is the longest home streak since February of 1992 (14 games).
• This is the 37th game in a series that dates to Dec. 22, 1949 ... Duquesne leads the series 21-15 ... in games played in the Bronx, the Dukes lead 9-7 ... DU has won four of the past five at Rose Hill Gym.
ON THE RAMS
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 11-4 start is the best by a DU first-year coach since Dudey Moore went 12-3 in his first 15 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 62.9 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 62.9 ppg. average is a +11.3 ppg. improvement over last season (74.2 ppg.).
• Duquesne, which eclipsed last year’s win total (10-22) in its 15th game - a 69-22 win over GW, is off to its best start since the 2008-09 NIT team (21-13) opened with a 12-4 record.
• Duquesne had its full roster for the first time this season on Dec. 9 vs. Delaware State (DU was 4-3 at the time). 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 significant contributions from a pair of freshmen. Six-five swingman Eric Williams Jr. (14.7, 9.9) leads the Dukes with a 9.9 rpg. average - the highest by a Duke since Damian Saunders averaged 11.3 rpg. in 2010. The versatile guard/forward, who has six double-doubles, is second on the team with 28 3-pointers and has thrown down a team-high 14 dunks. Through Dec. 3, Williams Jr. ranked fifth 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 tied for 10th among the nation’s top freshman shot blockers at 2.07 bpg. in under 20 minutes per game.
• Duquesne never trailed in posting its ninth win in its past 10 games.