PREVIEW: @DuqMBB at Saint Louis
Jan. 16, 2018
Duquesne (13-5, 4-1), coming of a 101-94 triple-overtime win over La Salle on Saturday, heads to Missouri to face Saint Louis (8-10, 1-4) on Wednesday, Jan. 17 at 8:00 p.m. ET (Atlantic 10 Digital Network). The Dukes, who have already eclipsed last season's win total (10-22) and conference victory mark (3-15) in their first-year under head coach Keith Dambrot, are off to their best start since the 2010-11 CBI team (19-13) opened 16-5. This is the first of two meetings with the Billikens, who will play the Dukes in Pittsburgh on Feb. 28.
Duquesne ranked 3rd nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.284) through Jan. 14. The .284 mark is the best in school history.
Duquesne has outrebounded 14 of 18 opponents (tied once).
Duquesne is 11-1 when holding opponents under 70 points and 13-0 when leading with 5:00 left.
Eric Williams Jr., a three-time A-10 Rookie of the Week, ranks fifth among D-I freshmen in rebounds per game (9.7) through Jan. 14. 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 - and are all 6-11 or taller.
Williams Jr. leads the A-10 lead in rebounding at 9.7 rpg. His seven double-doubles are second to VCU's Justin Tillman for most in the conference.
Rene Castro-Caneddy, who had never played more than 30 minutes in a game entering the season, is averaging 31.2 min/g. He posted his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 assists vs. Delaware State on Dec. 9. Castro-Caneddy, who had one career start entering the season, is the only Duke to start all 18 games.
Duquesne is 11-3 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 21 3-pointers this year have tied his career total of 21 in his first two college seasons (63 games).
Jordan Robinson, who is coming off his first career double-double (13-10 vs. La Salle), is averaging 6.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in conference play.
Duquesne's nine-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 27th game between Duquesne and Saint Louis ... the series is tied at 13-13 ... in games at St. Louis, SLU leads 6-4 ... DU had won five in a row prior to an 87-81 Billikens win in St. Louis last season ... SLU followed that with a 72-71 comeback win over the Dukes in the first round of the A-10 Championship at PPG Paints Arena.
This is DU head coach Keith Dambrot's first meeting with Saint Louis.
Saint Louis had won seven of eight - including five in a row, before DU's upset win over the No. 10 (AP) Billikens at Chaifetz Arena on Feb. 27, 2014 ... the Dukes have won six of nine since, including the upset win.
This is the ninth time the Dukes and Billikens are playing home-and-home ... DU swept the series in 2016 and SLU has swept twice (2010 & 2012) ... the two have split five times (2009, 2011, 2014, 2015 & 2017).
Duquesne's Mike Lewis II, who played his high school ball at St. Louis Chaminade College Prep, is averaging 20.3 ppg. in three career games vs. the Billikens ... he is shooting .583 from the field (21-36) and .500 from the 3-point arc (11-of-22) vs. SLU.
SLU was picked to finish 7th in the A-10 preseason poll ... the Billikens, who are coming off an 86-81loss at George Mason on Saturday, are 7-4 at home ... junior guard Michigan State transfer Javon Bess leads SLU at 12.9 ppg. ... 6-4 senior Davell Roby (11.8 ppg.) had a career-high 27 points at Mason.
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 13-5 start is the best by a DU first-year coach since Dudey Moore went 14-4 in his first 18 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 2010-11 CBI team (19-13) opened 16-5. The 2011 team started A-10 play 8-0.
The 2017-18 Dukes are limiting opponents to 64.2 points per game. It is the lowest opponent scoring average since 1962 (61.1). Six opposing teams have topped 70 points against Duquesne this season. The 64.2 ppg. average is a +10.0 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. (14.1, 9.7) leads the A-10 lead with a 9.7 rpg. average - the highest by a Duke since Damian Saunders averaged 11.3 rpg. in 2010. The versatile guard/forward, who has seven double-doubles, is second on the team with 34 3-pointers and has thrown down a team-high 14 dunks. Williams Jr. ranked fifth among Division I freshmen in rebounds per game (through Jan. 14). 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 38 blocks in 20 minutes per game (2.1 bpg.).
It was the fourth triple-overtime game in school history and first 3OT game since an 80-76 win over Notre Dame on Feb. 25, 1993. No Duquesne team has played more than three overtimes.