Dukes Host George Washington Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 25, 2008
GEORGE WASHINGTON (5-9, 1-3) at DUQUESNE (12-5, 2-2)
Duquesne (12-5, 2-2), which snapped a two-game losing streak with an 83-67 win over St. Bonaventure on Wednesday, plays the second of three consecutive home games when it hosts George Washington (5-9, 1-3) on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 7:00 p.m.
The first 3,000 fans through the turnstiles will receive "Red Out '08" T-shirts courtesy of UPMC Sports Medicine.
Duquesne, which exceeded last year's win total (10-19) with its Jan. 9 win over Fordham, has won five in a row at home and is 8-1 at the Palumbo Center overall.
George Washington - coming off an 81-70 loss at Rhode Island on Wednesday - is 0-7 on the road.
Duquesne got 18 points and 12 rebounds from Kieron Achara in the win over the Bonnies. Achara stepped up in the absence of leading scorer (14.3) and rebounder (7.3) Shawn James who missed the SBU game with a bruised underside of his left kneecap and mild MCL sprain in the same knee. James, who injured the knee at practice on Jan. 21, is questionable for the GW game.
Duquesne is off to its best start since the 1980-81 team also opened 12-5. The Dukes, who finished with an RPI of 219 last season, had an RPI of 67 through Wednesday's games (source: realtimerpi.com).
DUQUESNE LATELY: Duquesne's, 12-5 start is its best since the 1980-81 20-10 NIT team opened 12-5 ... DU's 12 wins are its most since 2003-04 ... the last Dukes team to post 13 or more wins was the 1993-94 NIT team which finished 17-13 ... Duquesne has won five in a row at home and is 8-1 at the Palumbo Center this season ... 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 an A-10 best.400 this year ... eight different DU players are averaging at least 7.4 ppg. ... four of Duquesne's five losses have come to teams with a combined record of 64-11 through Wednesday: at Drake 17-1, Pitt 16-3, at West Virginia 15-4 and at Rhode Island 16-3 ... the losses at Drake, to Pitt and at Rhode Island were by a combined 11 points ... DU currently ranks fourth nationally in scoring average (85.6 ppg.) and fifth in assists (18.8 apg.) and blocks (7.5 bpg.) (CBS Sportsline stats) ... first-year transfer Shawn James, who ranks fifth nationally in blocks per game (4.1), needs two rejections to become the 18th player in NCAA Division-I history to record 400 career blocked shots.
THE SERIES: George Washington, which leads the overall series 42-23, has won 22 of the past 25 meetings, including the past six in a row ... two of DU's three wins over that span have come in the past nine games - with both coming at the Palumbo Center ... DU's last series win was at the Palumbo Center on Feb. 19, 2003 by a 78-73 score ... last year, Duquesne got a double-double (22-12) and career-high five steals from Kieron Achara, but couldn't overcome 4-of-20 second half 3-point shooting in an 88-80 loss to the Colonials at the Smith Center.
A victory over George Washington would:
UP FOR GRABS: Atlantic 10 play began on Jan. 9 and by Jan. 16 all 14 conference teams had at least one loss. In addition, 13 teams had at least one victory by the 17th. Since the formation of the league in 1976-77, 45 teams have opened league play with a 4-0 record. This season marks the first in Conference history that no team opened A-10 play 3-0.
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. In under two seasons, Ron Everhart's Duquesne teams have put together three of the nine longest win streaks since 1969-70 (DU won five a row last season).
THE STEAL CITY: Duquesne, which is coming off a 15 steal effort against St. Bonaventure, has had 14 or more steals in a game five times. The Dukes who currently rank 12th nationally with 9.8 steals per game, have seven players with 10 or more steals led by freshman Damian Saunders with 28. Since steals were first recorded as an official NCAA stat in 1985-86, DU has posted 15 or more in a game 12 times with three coming this season.
THE RETURN OF THE 1040: Duquesne, which had shortened its bench and played just eight players in its first three conference games, went back full court pressure and five-man substitutions against St. Bonaventure on Wednesday. Jason Duty, Phillip Fayne and David Theis, all of whom hadn't played since the Bowling Green game on Jan. 2, combined to score 13 of DU's first 25 points as the Dukes jumped out to a 25-11 lead against the Bonnies. The 10 men for 40 minutes attack worked as Duquesne forced 23 SBU turnovers and registered 15 steals. All 10 players that saw action scored by the end of the first half. The defensive pressure and plus-11 turnover ratio (DU turned it over just 12 times) allowed the Dukes to win despite shooting .397 from the field. Duquesne's .397 effort was its third-worst of the season. Entering this year, Duquesne had lost 45 consecutive games when shooting under 40 percent. This year - mainly because of its vastly improved defense - the Dukes are 2-1 when shooting under 40 percent (a 92-77 win when shooting .386 at Oakland, an 83-67 win when shooting .397 against St. Bonaventure and a 73-68 loss when shooting .385 in a 73-68 loss to then-No. 12 (AP) Pitt). The Dukes outscored the Bonnies 28-9 in points off turnovers and also outrebounded SBU 44-35.
QUICK NOTES: Duquesne ended a two-game losing streak with Wednesday's 83-67 win over St. Bonaventure ... the Dukes, who shot a combined .508 in the two losses, shot .397 in the SBU win ... DU is +5.0 turnovers per game in conference play (55 to 75 for opponents) ... Aaron Jackson has gone 46-of-76 from the field (.605) in his past 12 games, to bring his overall field goal percentage up to .560 ... he has 21 rebounds in his past four outings (5.3 rpg.) ... Jackson has 13 assists and three turnovers in a team-high 116 minutes of Atlantic 10 play ... Reggie Jackson has led the Dukes in scoring in three of the past five games with 19 at Bowling Green, 15 vs. Fordham and 19 at Rhode Island (he's averaging 13.6 ppg. over that five-game stretch) ... Jackson, who was averaging 3.6 ppg. following the Dec. 5 Pitt game, brings an 8.3 ppg. scoring average into the George Washington game ... Jackson has handed out 34 assists (4.9 apg.) in his past seven 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' 66 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 two blocks to become the 18th player in NCAA Division I history to reach 400 for his career ... James had four dunks at Rhode Island and went 8-of-14 from the field in posting a 20-10 double-double at Fordham before suffering a knee injury in practice on Monday, Jan. 21 ... James missed the St. Bonaventure game ... his playing status for GW will be a game-time decision ... 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 and 10 (all in the first half) at Fordham ... 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 28 steals and is second on the team with a 5.5 rebounds per game average ... he is third in blocks (21) and tied for 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 5.2 rpg. average ... Kieron Achara, who played just six minutes at Rhode Island after suffering a mild concussion early in the second half, made his return at Fordham (five points and two blocks in nine minutes) ... with James on the bench in street clothes the Stirling, Scotland native posted 18 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals in 28 minutes vs. St. Bonaventure.