Jan. 10, 2014
GAME 14 - LA SALLE (8-6, 1-0) at DUQUESNE (8-5, 1-0)
Sunday, January 12, 2014 2:30 EST Pittsburgh, Pa. A.J. Palumbo Center (4,406)
Television: NBCSN with Steve Schlanger and Blaine Fowler
Radio: WPGB-FM 104.7 Ray Goss (`58) (pxp), Jarrett Durham (`71) (analyst)
View on NBCSN
SERIES QUICK NOTES
This is the 69th meeting in a series that dates to Feb. 10, 1940 ... La Salle leads 38-30, including a 18-13 lead in Atlantic 10 regular season games ... in games played at Pittsburgh, Duquesne leads 18-13 ... in an oddity of sorts, La Salle has won four of the past five in Pittsburgh and Duquesne has won four of the past five in Philadelphia.
The Dukes and Explorers have split the past 10 meetings ... the average score in those games is Duquesne 82.8 and La Salle 81.4 (+1.4 ppg.).
This is head coach Jim Ferry's second meeting with La Salle (0-1).
ON THE EXPLORERS
La Salle, which returns four starters and 75 percent of its scoring from last year's 24-10 NCAA Sweet 16 team, was picked to finish 3rd in the Atlantic 10 in the preseason poll of league coaches ... this is just the third time the Explorers, who are 1-3 on the road, have left the city of Philadelphia for a game since Nov. 25 ... the Dukes and Explorers share one common opponent in Penn State ... the Nittany Lions defeated La Salle, 79-72, at home on Nov. 19 and won at Duquesne (at CONSOL Energy Center) 68-59 on Dec. 11 ... La Salle placed three on the A-10 preseason all-Conference team ... Sr. G Tyreek Duren (1st), Sr. G Tyrone Garland (3rd) and Jr. F Jerrell Wright (3rd) ... the three picks were more than any other league school ... Duren has started 86 consecutive games, it is the second-longest streak in the A-10 and fourth-longest nationally.
Leftovers from Duquesne's Atlantic 10-opening 87-81 win over Fordham on Jan. 8: the Dukes trailed for just 1:55 in posting their fifth consecutive win ... DU saw a 20-point lead (with 17:27 left) whittled to three before Jeremiah Jones hit 5-of-6 free throws over the final 33 seconds to secure the win ... Ovie Soko, who scored 20 of his career-high 29 points in the first half, topped the 20-point mark for the fifth consecutive time ... Dominique McKoy added his third double-double of the season (10-10) ... Derrick Colter (14) and Jones (12) also scored in double digits ... McKoy had a career-high 3 blocks ... DU assisted on 19 of 25 field goals with Micah Mason leading the way with a career-high 7 ... the starting backcourt of Mason and Colter finished with a combined 11 assists and 2 turnovers ... the Dukes set Jim Ferry Era highs for free throws made (30) and attempted (43) ... Soko was 8-of-13 and Jeremiah Jones 9-of-12 from the line ... DU outscored Fordham 30-13 from the foul line and 36-14 in the paint ... Fordham went 16-of-41 from the 3-point arc, Duquesne was 7-of-17.
70 THE KEY
DU is 8-2 this season (15-7 under Jim Ferry) when scoring 70 or more.
SOKO'S STREAK AT 5
Ovie Soko, who has scored 23, 22, 21, 22 & a career-high 29 points in his last five games, is the first Duke to string together five consecutive 20-point games since Bryant McAllister did it in his final five games as a Duke in 2006. McAllister, who topped the 20-point mark 13 times in 26 games in 2005-06, led the A-10 in scoring in all games (19.7 ppg.) and conference-only games (20.7 ppg.) on his way to earning second team All-Atlantic 10 honors that season. The last Duke to put together six consecutive 20-point games was former second round NBA draft pick Derrick Alston in 1992-93.
Duquesne, which extended its win streak to five with an 87-81 Atlantic 10-opening win over Fordham on Wednesday, hosts La Salle on Sunday, Jan. 12 at 2:30 p.m. in a nationally televised NBCSN game (WPGB-FM 104.7). The five-game streak is DU's longest since 2010-11 (11 in a row).
Duquesne has had its 14-man roster intact for just four games this season. Freshman Isaiah Watkins missed the first six games while recovering from knee surgery and sophomore guard Micah Mason missed five games between Nov. 30 and Dec. 17 with a broken bone in his hand. The complete lineup made its debut on Dec. 21 at UMass Lowell and came out with a 95-77 win. Since then the Dukes have added victories at Texas-Pan American (88-69) and home against Appalachian State (79-55) & Fordham (87-81).
Duquesne has already matched its win total from a year ago (8-22, 1-15).
The Dukes have trailed for a total of 2:15 of their past four games. DU did not trail in wins at UMass Lowell and at Texas-Pan American, trailed for 20 seconds in the opening minute against Appalachian State, and was behind for a total of 1:55 in the first three minutes of Wednesday's win over Fordham.
Duquesne is shooting 50.5 percent (147-of-291) and has assisted on 66 percent of its field goals (97 assists on 147 baskets) during its current win streak (19.4 apg.).
Duquesne is in its second season under head coach Jim Ferry. Ferry, who came to DU after leading LIU Brooklyn to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances (2011 & 2012), is the 16th coach in school history. This is the 98th season for Duquesne basketball.
The 2013-14 Dukes matched last season's win total (8-22) with their 87-81 Atlantic 10-opening win over Fordham on Jan. 8.
Only three scholarship players are back from last year's 8-22 team: returning starters Derrick Colter and Jeremiah Jones along with senior Jerry Jones. DU also has three first-year players with Division I experience in senior Ovie Soko (88 games for UAB from 2010-12), JC transfer Dominique McKoy (30 games at Rhode Island in 2012) and sophomore Micah Mason (30 games at Drake last year). The 11 active scholarship players on the 2013-14 roster brought a combined total of 10 seasons of Division I experience into the season.
The Dukes have yet to lose (5-0) with the current starting lineup of F Ovie Soko, F Jeremiah Jones, C Dominique McKoy, G Micah Mason and G Derrick Colter.
Five of the Dukes' top seven scorers are first year players: UAB transfer Ovie Soko (18.9 ppg.), JC transfer Tra'Vaughn White (12.8), JC transfer Dominique McKoy (10.2), first-year Drake transfer Micah Mason (9.6) and freshman Desmond Ridenour (5.6).
Eight players have scored 10 or more and five are averaging at least 9.6 points per game for the Dukes who are averaging 79.8 ppg.
The Dukes fielded their entire roster for the first time on Dec. 21 at UMass Lowell. Freshman forward Isaiah Watkins, who underwent leg surgery on Jan. 31 in his hometown of Toronto, had additional arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Oct. 3 keeping him out of DU's first six games. He returned to action vs. Penn State on Dec. 11. Sophomore guard Micah Mason missed five games with a broken hand suffered Nov. 20 vs. Albany. He made his return with 14 points (4-of-6 from 3-point) at UMass Lowell on Dec. 21. A second Canadian, freshman forward, 6-8, 255-pound Jordan Robinson, has not been certified as eligible by the NCAA and has yet to practice.
The Dukes, who are 96-of-130 (.739) from the foul line in their past five games, have made 27 more free throws (260-382) than their opponents have attempted (158-233). DU, which is averaging 29.4 free throw attempts per game, is outscoring its opponents by 102 points (7.8 ppg.) from the charity stripe. Senior forward Ovie Soko, who is challenging the school record for free throw attempts per game (he is currently at 9.77), has made good on 55-of-69 free throw attempts (.797) in his past seven games (.709 for the season). La Salle began the week ranked 9th nationally in fewest fouls per game (15.4).
Senior Ovie Soko (18.9, 8.8), who has scored 14 or more points in 12 of 13 games, has posted four double-doubles this season. The UAB transfer has scored 23, 22, 21, 22 and a career-high 29 points in his past five games.
First-year Drake transfer Micah Mason, the top 3-point shooter in the Missouri Valley Conference last season (40-of-79, .506), was granted a waiver by the NCAA on Nov. 8 - the day before the season opener against Abilene Christian. Mason, a sophomore, hit a 3-pointer on his first touch in a Dukes uniform, 28 seconds after entering the ACU game. The western Pa. native had his breakout game with 18 points on 5-of-7 3-point shooting at WVU, before breaking a bone in his right hand in the first half of DU's 70-59 win over Albany three day's later. The injury sidelined him for five games. Mason hit four 3-pointers in his return at UMass Lowell on Dec. 21 and added four more in the Dec. 29 win at UTPA. Mason is 21-of-34 from the arc (.618) with 24 assists and 4 turnovers in 203 total minutes.
Micah Mason has shot 50 percent or better from the 3-point arc in seven consecutive games. The only time he did not, was the season-opener against Abilene Christian when he was 1-of-4.
Sophomore guard Derrick Colter, who became just the fifth player - and first underclassman - to lead the Dukes in scoring and assists when he averaged 13.4 ppg. and 5.3 apg. last season, scored a team-high 23 in the opener against Abilene Christian and added 20 points, 7 assists and a career high-tying 4 steals vs. UMBC. Colter has reached the 20-point mark six times in his young career. Colter (9.6 ppg.) leads the team with 50 assists.
First-year forward Dominique McKoy missed just seven shots in the month of December (24-of-31, 10.7 ppg. in six Dec. games). The 6-8 JC transfer is shooting a team-best .703. McKoy, who has had at least six rebounds in 11 of 13 games, has scored in double digits eight times. He posted his first career double-double (12-10) vs. Penn State and followed that with 16 points and 10 more boards vs. Robert Morris. He posted his third double-double (10-10) in the A-10 opener vs. Fordham.
Sophomore forward Jeremiah Jones who, like Colter, has played in every game in his Duquesne career (43 and counting), has established himself as the Dukes' top defender. Jones, who is averaging 27.2 min/g., has 26 assists and just nine turnovers this season. He has scored in double figures in four of DU's past five games.
First-year transfer guard Tra'Vaughn White, who led the nation's JC's in scoring last year at 25.9 ppg., has scored double-digit points in nine of 13 games. He scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half to help the Dukes rally from a 10-point halftime deficit to post a win at Saint Francis, Pa. and followed that with 15 points (4-of-4 from 3-point) at UMass Lowell. The Dukes are 1-3 when White scores fewer than 10. White has scored 38 of his 60 points in the second half of DU's past five games.
Freshman guard Desmond Ridenour, who scored all nine of his points in 14 first-half minutes against Pitt, topped that with 11 points at Saint Francis. The Ohio native, who had five field goals against the Red Flash, is averaging just over 17 minutes per game off the bench.
Senior Jerry Jones has scored in double digits two times this season. He had 14 points in 20 minutes in the win over UMBC and two games later added 10 points and a career-high six assists in 23 turnover-free minutes vs. Robert Morris. Jones. He has two turnovers in 180 minutes this season.
Duquesne, which began the week ranked 8th in NCAA Division I for fewest total turnovers, has three players with at least 180 minutes played and single-digit turnovers: Jerry Jones (2 turnovers in 180 minutes), Micah Mason (4 in 203) and Jeremiah Jones (9 in 353).
Four players posted 40-plus inch running vertical jumps in July testing. The four highest-leaping Dukes are: Jeremiah Jones (42.5"), Derrick Colter (42.5"), Ovie Soko (40.5") and Desmond Ridenour (40.5").
DU has won three in a row on the road for the first time since 2010-11 (five straight). The three road wins have already eclipsed last year's total (2-12).
DU will play George Mason (2013 CBI finalist), La Salle (2013 NCAA Sweet 16), Saint Louis (2013 NCAA Third Round) and St. Bonaventure twice in Atlantic 10 play. Mason, La Salle and SLU all won at least 22 games last season. Duquesne and George Washington are the only schools who will face two of the Atlantic 10's three returning 2013 NCAA tournament participants home-and-home. DU, GW and St. Bonaventure are the only schools with three 2013 post-season participants in their four-team pod.
UP NEXT: DU heads to Philadelphia to face Saint Joseph's on Wed., Jan. 15 at 7:00 p.m.