Dukes Return to Action Saturday at Fordham
Jan. 18, 2008
DUQUESNE (11-4, 1-1) at FORDHAM (7-8, 1-2)
TELEVISION: CSTV with Chris Carlin & John Griffin (FSN Pittsburgh locally)
Duquesne (11-4, 1-1), which saw its five-game winning streak snapped in an 80-78 loss at #22 (AP) Rhode Island last Sunday, hits the road again for a rematch with Fordham (7-8, 1-2) on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 2:00 p.m.
The two met in Pittsburgh on Jan. 9, with the Dukes posting a 74-62 win.
Saturday's game, which will be televised as part of CSTV's regional syndication, will air locally on Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh.
Duquesne, which exceeded last year's win total (10-19) with the Jan. 9 win over the Rams, is 3-3 on the road with double-digit wins at Rice, Oakland and Bowling Green.
Fordham, which is coming off a 66-53 home win over George Washington on Wednesday, is 4-3 at home.
Despite the loss at Rhode Island, Duquesne is off to its best start since 1979-80. The Dukes, who finished with an RPI of 219 last season, began the week with an RPI of 45 (source: NCAA).
STREAKIN': The Dukes have put together winning streaks of six and five games already this season, making it first time since 1961-62 that a Duquesne team has had two streaks of five or more wins in the same year. The `62 Dukes, who went 22-7 on the way to a No. 17 (AP) national ranking and fourth place finish in the NIT, recorded win streaks of seven, five and six games that season.
DUQUESNE LATELY: Duquesne's, 11-4 start is its best since the 1979-80 NIT team opened 12-3 ... DU's 10 non-conference wins are its most since 1970-80 (11-6) ... Duquesne's quick start can be contributed to its defensive improvement ... the Dukes, who held two of 29 opponents under 40 percent in finishing ranked 324th of 325 NCAA Division I teams in field goal pct. defense (.507) last season, are holding opponents to .394 this year ... eight different players are averaging at least 8.0 ppg. ... the Dukes have outscored opponents 694-537 in the second half (+10.5 ppg.) ... Duquesne's four losses have come to teams with a combined record of 57-9 (through games of Jan. 16): Pitt 15-2, at Drake 15-1, at West Virginia 12-4 and at Rhode Island 15-2 ... the losses at Drake, to Pitt and at Rhode Island were by a combined 11 points ... DU began the week ranked fourth nationally in scoring average (86.6 ppg.), assists (19.5 apg.) and blocks (8.1 bpg.) ... first-year transfer Shawn James, who ranks fourth nationally in blocks per game (4.3), needs four rejections to become the 18th player in NCAA Division-I history to record 400 career blocked shots.
THE SERIES: Duquesne, which leads the series 14-11, snapped a five-game series losing streak with a 74-62 win over Fordham at the Palumbo Center on Jan. 9 ... in games played in the Bronx the series is tied at 5-5 ... in A-10 regular-season action, Fordham leads 8-7 ... last year at Fordham, Duquesne - down eight points with just over four minutes remaining - had two chances to tie or take the lead in the game's final 30 seconds only to come up empty in an 86-83 loss ... Duquesne has won two of the past four meetings at Rose Hill Gym (74-65 on Feb. 15, 2003 & 61-57 on Mar. 2, 2005), although the Rams have won the last two (90-63 on Jan. 15, 2006 & 86-83 last year) ... Kieron Achara is the only player on the current roster that played in DU's last win at Rose Hill.
A victory over Fordham would:
QUICK NOTES: Reggie Jackson has led the Dukes in scoring in each of the past three games with 19 at Bowling Green, 15 vs. Fordham and 19 at Rhode Island (17.7 ppg. over that three-game stretch) ... Jackson, who was averaging 3.6 ppg. following the Dec. 5 Pitt game, brings an 8.4 ppg. scoring average into the Fordham game ... Jackson has handed out 28 assists (5.6 apg.) in his past five games, including a career-high nine vs. Robert Morris on Dec. 28 ... Shawn James tied the Duquesne record for blocked shots in a season when he deflected a Brenton Butler field goal attempt with 6:18 left in the Jan. 9 Fordham game and broke the record with his first of four rejections at Rhode Island ... James' 64 blocks broke the school mark set (in 1991-92) and tied (in 1992-93) by Derrick Alston ... Alston played in 28 games in both `92 & `93 in setting and tying the old record ... earlier this season, James set a new Atlantic 10 record with 12 blocks in 22 minutes in Duquesne's 92-77 win at Oakland on Nov. 20 ... the previous A-10 record of 11 was set by Rutgers' Roy Hinson in 1982-83 and tied by UMass' Stephane Lasme three times last year ... the old Duquesne record of seven was set by Derrick Alston vs. Saint Joseph's Jan. 5, 1991 ... James broke the DU record when he rejected his eighth shot with 7:53 left in the first half at Oakland ... James needs four blocks to become the 18th player in NCAA Division I history to reach 400 for his career ... James, who had four dunks at Rhode Island, leads the team with a .559 field goal percentage ... Aaron Jackson is 39-of-67 from the field (.582) in his past 10 games ... he has 13 rebounds in his past two outings ... Kojo Mensah saw a streak of 18 consecutive free throws made snapped at Bowling Green ... he had a streak of 13 in a row earlier this season ... Mensah posted his team-high fourth 20-point game with 22 on Dec. 28 vs. Robert Morris ... Mensah, who had eight points in the first Fordham game, bounced back with 14 at URI ... DU is 2-2 when Mensah scores in single digits ... Damian Saunders was named A-10 Rookie of the Week for the third time on Dec. 30 ... he is the fifth player in school history to win the award more than twice in a season ... Saunders leads the team with 25 steals, ranks second with a 5.8 rebounds per game average, is tied for second in blocks (21) and is third on the team with 13 3-pointers ... fellow freshman Bill Clark has hit three or more 3-pointers in a game four times ... Clark, at 6-6, ranks third on the team with a 5.5 rpg. average.
JAMES IN NYC: This is the first trip to the Big Apple in the 70-game collegiate career of Brooklyn, N.Y. native Shawn James. James, who began his career at Northeastern, played a game at Hofstra (Hempstead, N.Y.) as a sophomore. That's the closest he's appeared to Brooklyn. James, a 6-10 junior F/C, began the week ranked fourth nationally blocked shots per game at 4.3.
THIRD FOR KOJO: Fellow Brooklyn native Kojo Mensah, who made a pair of trips to Manhattan in his two seasons at Siena, will be making his third appearance in New York City. As a freshman at Siena, Mensah scored 10 points in 25 minutes of an 85-70 loss at Manhattan. As a sophomore he had 19 points and added six rebounds and four assists in a 77-74 loss to the Jaspers.
MR. 1,000: Graduate student forward/center Kieron Achara became the 31st member of the Duquesne 1,000-point club with a free throw at the 18:52 mark of the second half of Duquesne's game against Pitt on Dec. 5. Achara enters the Fordham game with 1,065 career points (ranks 27th all-time), 547 rebounds and 161 blocked shots (2nd all-time). The Fordham game is Achara's 101st at Duquesne.
HE LIKES THIS PLACE: Achara was limited to just six minutes in the 80-78 loss at #22 (AP) Rhode Island. The 6-10 Stirling, Scotland native took an elbow to the mouth three minutes into the second half that not only loosened a tooth but also caused a mild concussion. Achara sat out Tuesday's practice before returning. Achara, who was saddled with foul trouble, scored seven points in 12 minutes in the first Fordham game. Achara has found a home away from home at Rose Hill Gym where he has posted double-doubles in each of his two career appearances. Last year at Fordham, Achara went 7-of-14 from the field in posting a 20-11 double-double in an 86-83 loss. In his only other appearance at Rose Hill - as a sophomore in 2004-05 - Achara had 10 points and 14 boards in a 61-57 Dukes win (he was injured in 2005-06 & DU didn't play at Fordham in `04).