PREVIEW: La Salle at @DuqMBB
Jan. 11, 2018
Duquesne (12-5, 3-1) puts its eight-game home win streak on the line when it hosts La Salle (7-9, 1-2) on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 12:30 p.m. (NBCSN with Ryan Burr & Ben Braun on the call). The Dukes, who saw their three-game Atlantic 10 win streak snapped in a 78-67 defeat at VCU on Tuesday, have already eclipsed last season’s win total (10-22) and tied last year’s conference victory mark (3-15). The Dukes - under first year head coach Keith Dambrot - are off to their best start since the 2010-11 CBI team (19-13) opened 16-5. The eight-game home win streak is the second-longest in the 30-year history of the A.J. Palumbo Center.
• 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).
• Duquesne ranked 5th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.287) through Jan. 10. The .287 mark is the best in school history.
• Duquesne is 11-1 when holding opponents under 70 points and 12-0 when leading with 5:00 left.
• The Dukes, who averaged 14.2 turnovers per game last season, have cut their TO rate to 11.2/g in 2017-18.
• Eric Williams Jr., a three-time A-10 Rookie of the Week, ranks sixth among D-I freshmen in rebounds per game (9.5) through Jan. 10. Four of the five 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 and the fifth, Syracuse’s Oshae Brissett was a 4-star.
• Williams Jr. is tied for the A-10 lead in rebounding at 9.5 rpg. His six double-doubles are second to 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 59 assists and 27 turnovers on the season. Castro-Caneddy, who had one career start entering the season, is the only Duke to start all 17 games.
• Duquesne is 10-3 since grad transfer Chas Brown made his debut on Dec. 1 with five minutes played vs. Pitt. Brown, Coppin State’s MVP last season, missed the first four games with a foot injury.
• Tarin Smith’s 20 3-pointers this year are one shy of his career total of 21 in his first two college seasons (63 games).
• This is the 75th meeting in a series that dates to Feb. 10, 1940 ... La Salle leads 43-31, including a 22-14 advantage in Atlantic 10 regular season games ... the Explorers have won seven of the past eight ... in games played at Pittsburgh, Duquesne leads 19-14 ... in an oddity of sorts, La Salle has won five of the past seven in Pittsburgh and Duquesne has won four of the past eight in Philadelphia ... this is the first meeting between Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot and La Salle’s Dr. John Gianinni ... the two have coached in 1,506 games in 49 combined seasons.
• The past 15 meetings have been decided by the difference of last year’s La Salle win - seven points (1,204-1,197) ... the Dukes have won six and the Explorers nine of the past 15 ... the average score for both teams in those games is 80.3-79.8.
ON THE EXPLORERS
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 12-5 start is the best by a DU first-year coach since Dudey Moore went 14-3 in his first 17 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.
• 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 12-5 record.
• The 2017-18 Dukes are limiting opponents to 62.5 points per game. It is the lowest opponent scoring average since 1962 (61.1). Only five opposing teams have topped 70 points against Duquesne this season. The 62.5 ppg. average is a +11.7 ppg. improvement over last season (74.2 ppg.).
• 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. (14.4, 9.5) is tied for the A-10 lead with a 9.5 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 32 3-pointers and has thrown down a team-high 14 dunks. Williams Jr. ranked sixth among Division I freshmen in rebounds per game (through Jan. 10). 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, leads the A-10 with 35 blocks in 20 minutes per game (2.1 bpg.).
• VCU outscored the Dukes 50-31 in the second half to pull away for the win. Duquesne led 36-28 at the half.