PREVIEW: George Mason at @DuqMBB
Jan. 18, 2018
Duquesne (13-6, 4-2), returns home for the first of back-to-back home games when it faces George Mason (9-10, 3-3) on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 4:30 p.m. The game will be televised nationally by NBCSN with Rick Allen and David Kaplan on the call. 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. DU is looking to extend its nine-game home win streak which is the second-longest in the 30-year history of Palumbo Center.
• The Dukes, who are 11-2 at home, are one win shy of the Palumbo Center record for wins (12-3 set in 1993-94).
• This is the third time in 41 A-10 seasons that the Dukes opened conference play 3-0 or better. Duquesne finished no worse than tied for fifth on the other two occasions: a school-record 8-0 start resulted in a tie for 4th at 10-6 in 2011 and a 3-0 start in 2009 produced a t5th finish at 9-7. Duquesne’s 4-2 conference start is the best since the 2011 team opened with the eight consecutive wins.
• Duquesne ranks 3rd nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.285). The .285 mark is the best in school history.
• Duquesne has outrebounded 14 of 19 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 tied for fourth among D-I freshmen in rebounds/g (9.7). The three ahead of him, Deandre Ayton of Arizona, Marvin Bagley of Duke, Mo Bamba of Texas - and the one tied with him 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 eight double-doubles are second in the conference and tied for fifth nationally among Division I freshmen.
• Rene Castro-Caneddy, who had never played more than 30 minutes in a game entering the season, is averaging 31.2 min/g. He has scored 20 or more in three of six A-10 games.
• Duquesne is 11-4 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. DU is 9-1 when Brown logs 15 or more minutes.
• Tarin Smith, who entered this season with 21 3-pointers in 63 games, has 22 3-pointers in 19 games this year.
• Jordan Robinson is averaging 5.8 ppg. on .636 shooting (14-of-22) in conference play.
• This is the 12th meeting in a relatively new series that dates to New Year’s Eve of 2001 ... Mason, which leads the series 6-5, is 3-2 in games played in Pittsburgh ... this is the sixth meeting between the two as members of the Atlantic 10 Conference ... DU leads 3-2 in A-10 regular season games.
• Duquesne has won four of the past six meetings, including the last one in Pittsburgh, 62-53, on Jan. 31, 2015.
• George Mason (9-10, 3-3), which is in its third-year under head coach Dave Paulsen, was picked to finish 10th in the A-10 preseason poll.
• Mason, which is led by junior guards Otis Livingston III (16.1 ppg.) & Jaire Grayer (14.2 ppg.), is coming off an 80-68 loss at George Washington on Wednesday. Freshman Goanar Mar led four Patriots in double figures with 17 points. Mason fell behind 44-29 and couldn’t make up the difference, despite shooting 51.1 percent. GW, which shot 64.3 percent in the first half, finished at 54.5 percent. The Patriots are 2-4 on the road with an A-10 win at UMass (80-72 in overtime).
• George Mason is the 16th-youngest team in the nation this season according to Ken Pomeroy’s experience stat, with an average of just 0.98 years of experience per player.
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 13-6 start is the best by a DU first-year coach since Dudey Moore went 15-4 in his first 19 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 64.28 points per game. It is the lowest opponent scoring average since 1962 (61.1). Seven opposing teams have topped 70 points against Duquesne this season (DU is 2-5 in those games).
• 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. (13.9, 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 eight double-doubles, is second on the team with 35 3-pointers and has thrown down a team-high 15 dunks. Williams Jr. ranks tied for fourth among Division I freshmen in rebounds per game & tied for fifth in double-doubles (through Jan. 17). 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 40 blocks in 20 minutes per game (2.1 bpg.).