Jan. 27, 2014
GAME 19: DUQUESNE (9-9, 2-4) at NJIT (9-13)
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 • 7:00 EST • Newark, N.J. • Fleisher Athletic Center (1,500)
Radio: WPGB-FM 104.7 Ray Goss (`58) (pxp), Jarrett Durham (`71) (analyst)
Duquesne, which snapped a four-game losing streak with a last-second 83-81 win over St. Bonaventure on Saturday, hits the road to conclude the non-conference portion of the schedule at NJIT on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 7:00 p.m. (WPGB-FM 104.7).
SERIES QUICK NOTES
• This is the first meeting between the Dukes and New Jersey Institute of Technology located in Newark, N.J. It is also the first game of a home-and-home series.
ON THE HIGHLANDERS
• NJIT snapped a three-game losing streak with a 65-59 overtime win at Delaware State on Monday night.
• The Highlanders, who are 9-13 overall, are 4-4 at home with wins over Lafayette, Maine, UMass Lowell and CCNY.
• This is NJIT's second home game since Dec. 21.
• NJIT began the week ranked 38th nationally in 3-point field goal pct.
• Freshman guard Damon Lynn (17.3 ppg.), who began the week ranked fourth nationally in 3-pointers per game (currently at 3.8), is averaging 9.8 3-point attempts per game (83-216, .384) ... to put that number in perspective, Ovie Soko leads Duquesne with 211 overall field goal attempts (no other DU player has attempted more than 145 shots) ... Lynn has attempted 313 shots in 22 games ... the 5-11 New Jersey native was 16-of-29 (.552) from the 3-point arc in two games prior to going 1-of-13 on Monday at Delaware State (12 pts.) ... he went 9-of-18 from 3-point in scoring 34 points in an 88-82 loss to North Carolina A&T on Jan. 18 and followed that with 25 points on 7-of-11 3-point shooting in an 89-74 loss at Penn on Jan. 25.
• Duquesne and NJIT share three common opponents. NJIT went 3-2 against Albany, New Hampshire, Saint Francis, Pa. and UMass Lowell, while DU went 3-1 against the same three schools:
• NJIT is competing as an independent after finishing 16-13, including a 12-3 record at home, on the way to winning the Great West regular season title last season.
• NJIT, which went 1-30 in 2008-09, has posted 10, 15, 15 and 16 wins in the four years since under sixth-year head coach Jim Engles.
• Micah Mason is 10-of-13 from 3-point since going 0-of-4 at VCU. He hit 5-7 vs. Saint Louis & 5-6 vs. SBU (15 points in each g.). Mason, who is shooting .614 from 3-point, has 36 assists and six turnovers on the season.
• Dominique McKoy has led DU in rebounding in each of the past six games. The JC transfer is averaging a team-best 7.6 rpg.
• DU’s past six opponents have hit at least 10 3-pointers for a combined 76-of-160 (.475).
• Ovie Soko is the only A-10 player ranked in the Top 10 in scoring (17.8) and rebounding (7.5).
Leftovers from Duquesne's 83-81 Atlantic 10 win over St. Bonaventure on Saturday: Derrick Colter hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer as time expired to give the Dukes the win ... Colter had missed two free throws with 5.5 seconds left and DU down one ... there were two ties and five lead changes in the final minute ... Ovie Soko led DU with 27 points before fouling out with 12.5 seconds left ... Soko, who went 13-of-20 from the foul line, was one of four players to foul out in the physical contest (three Bonnies were DQd) ... it was Soko's second 20 FTA game this season ... Micah Mason scored all of his 15 points from the 3-point arc (5-of-6) ... Colter had 14 and Dominique McKoy added 13 points and a game-high 9 rebounds ... DU shot .553 (11-of-19 from 3pt), SBU shot .509 (11-of-21 from 3pt) ... the Dukes outscored the Bonnies 14-0 in fast break points ... DU, which had nine turnovers in the first half, finished with 11 ... neither team lead by more than four over the last 14:07 ... Colter's game-winner was DU's first since Keiron Achara hit a 3-pointer at the horn to give DU a 72-71 win at Saint Francis on Dec. 22, 2006.
ON THE ROAD
DU, which won 17 road games in 10 seasons from 1997 through 2006, has posted 38 road Ws over the past eight years. Of the 38 wins, 27 have come by double digits. From 1997 through 2006, Duquesne posted a total of three double-digit road victories. DU is 3-2 on the road this season with consecutive wins at Saint Francis, Pa. (78-71), at UMass Lowell (95-77) and at Texas-Pan American (88-69). The Dukes are 5-14 on the road under Jim Ferry.
Duquesne is 225-234 (.490) in non-conference games since 1976-77 as members of the Eastern 8/Atlantic 10 and Midwestern Collegiate Conference (1992-93 only), including a 147-72 mark at home (57-123 on the road & 21-39 neutral). The Dukes have not had a losing non-conference record since 2006-07. DU is 14-12 in non-league play under Jim Ferry (10-4 at home, 4-6 on the road, 0-2 neutral and 7-5 overall this season).
• The NJIT game begins a stretch of three in a row on the road for the Dukes, who will travel directly to Philadelphia for Saturday's game vs. La Salle. The Dukes, who are 3-3 on the road, are at George Washington on Feb. 5.
• Duquesne ranks second in the A-10 in scoring (77.2) and assists/g (15.4 apg.). DU, which has had more assists than turnovers in 14 of 18 games, has posted 20 or more assists three times. DU leads the A-10 with a +1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio.
• Duquesne is shooting .526 overall (50-95), .559 from 3-point (19-34) and assisted on 70% of its field goals in its past two games. The Dukes have shot 50 percent or better seven times this season - including three times on the road. DU is 6-1 when shooting 50 percent or better.
• DU, whose next three games are away from home, won't return to Palumbo Center until the annual Chuck Cooper Classic - this year vs. George Mason - on Feb. 8 at 2:00 p.m.
• Duquesne is in its second season under head coach Jim Ferry. Ferry, who came to DU after leading LIU Brooklyn to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances (2011 & 2012), is the 16th coach in school history. This is the 98th season for Duquesne basketball.
• The 2013-14 Dukes matched last season's win total (8-22) with their 87-81 Atlantic 10-opening win over Fordham on Jan. 8 and eclipsed the eight-win mark with an 83-81 victory over St. Bonaventure on Jan. 25.
• Only three scholarship players are back from last year's 8-22 team: returning starters Derrick Colter and Jeremiah Jones along with senior Jerry Jones. DU also has three first-year players with Division I experience in senior Ovie Soko (88 games for UAB from 2010-12), JC transfer Dominique McKoy (30 games at Rhode Island in 2012) and sophomore Micah Mason (30 games at Drake last year). The 11 active scholarship players on the 2013-14 roster brought a combined total of 10 seasons of Division I experience into the season.
• Sophomores Derrick Colter and Jeremiah Jones have shown marked improvement from year one to year two. Although Colter's scoring average has dipped (-3.2 ppg.), he has been much more efficient as his field goal, 3-point and free throw percentages have all improved: FG (.376 to .407), 3PT (.314 to .395) & FT (.666 to .745). Jones' percentages are also up: FG (.392 to .439), 3PT (.315 to .371) and FT (.629 to .714). Jones, who was even in assists-to-turnovers last year (28-28), has 34 assists and 13 turnovers this year.
• Five of the Dukes' top seven scorers are first year players: UAB transfer Ovie Soko (17.8 ppg.), JC transfer Dominique McKoy (10.6), JC transfer Tra'Vaughn White (10.2), first-year Drake transfer Micah Mason (9.3) and freshman Desmond Ridenour (5.5).
• Eight players have scored 10 or more and six are averaging at least 8.2 points per game for the Dukes who are averaging 77.2 ppg.
• The Dukes fielded their entire roster for the first time on Dec. 21 at UMass Lowell. Freshman forward Isaiah Watkins, who underwent leg surgery on Jan. 31 in his hometown of Toronto, had additional arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Oct. 3 keeping him out of DU's first six games. He returned to action vs. Penn State on Dec. 11. Sophomore guard Micah Mason missed five games with a broken hand suffered Nov. 20 vs. Albany. He made his return with 14 points (4-of-6 from 3-point) at UMass Lowell on Dec. 21.
• The Dukes have made 13 more free throws than their opponents have attempted. DU, which is averaging 27.5 free throw attempts per game, is outscoring its opponents by 128 points (7.1 ppg.) from the charity stripe. Senior forward Ovie Soko, who is challenging the school record for free throw attempts per game (he is currently at 9.78), has had two games with 20 attempts (vs. Pitt & St. Bonaventure).
• Ovie Soko (17.8, 7.5), who has scored in double digits 16 times, saw a streak of five consecutive 20-point games - including a career-high 29 in the A-10 opener vs. Fordham - snapped on Jan. 12 vs. La Salle (12 points). He was the first Duke to string together five consecutive 20-point games since Bryant McAllister did it in his final five games as a Duke in 2006. McAllister, who topped the 20-point mark 13 times in 26 games in 2005-06, led the A-10 in scoring in all games (19.7 ppg.) and conference-only games (20.7 ppg.) on his way to earning second team All-Atlantic 10 honors that season. Soko scored 29 points in three games following his career-high 29-point outburst vs. Fordham, prior to scoring a game-high 18 against Saint Louis and adding 27 vs. St. Bonaventure.
• First-year Drake transfer Micah Mason, the top 3-point shooter in the Missouri Valley Conference last season (40-of-79, .506), was granted a waiver by the NCAA on Nov. 8 - the day before the season opener against Abilene Christian. Mason, a sophomore, hit a 3-pointer on his first touch in a Dukes uniform, 28 seconds after entering the ACU game. The western Pa. native had his breakout game with 18 points on 5-of-7 3-point shooting at West Virginia, before breaking a bone in his right hand in the first half of DU's 70-59 win over Albany three days later. The injury sidelined him for five games. Mason hit four "3"s in his return at UMass Lowell on Dec. 21 and added four more in the Dec. 29 win at UTPA. He had his top A-10 outing with five 3-pointers on seven attempts in scoring 15 points vs. Saint Louis and matched that with five more in six attempts vs. St. Bonaventure (15 points). Mason is 35-of-57 from the arc (.614) with 36 assists and 6 turnovers this season.
• Micah Mason has shot 50 percent or better from the 3-point arc in 11 of 13 games. The only exceptions were the season-opener against Abilene Christian (1-of-4) and at VCU (0-of-4). He has hit at least one 3-pointer in 12 of the 13 games he's played and has hit four or more in a game five times. Nearly 75 percent of his career field goal attempts have come from beyond the 3-point arc.
• Sophomore guard Derrick Colter, who became just the fifth player - and first underclassman - to lead the Dukes in scoring and assists when he averaged 13.4 ppg. and 5.3 apg. last season, scored a team-high 23 in the opener against Abilene Christian and added 20 points, 7 assists and a career high-tying 4 steals vs. UMBC. Colter has reached the 20-point mark six times in his young career. Colter (10.2 ppg.), who leads the team with 72 assists, is tied for the second-best assist-to-turnover ratio in the A-10 (2.3-1). He has scored in double digits in five of six Atlantic 10 games (12.0 ppg.). Colter has started every game in his Duquesne career (48).
• First-year forward Dominique McKoy, who missed just seven shots in the month of December (24-of-31, 10.7 ppg. in six Dec. games), is shooting an A-10-best .664. McKoy, who has had at least six rebounds in 16 of 18 games, has scored in double digits 12 times. He posted his first career double-double (12-10) vs. Penn State and followed that with 16 points and 10 more boards vs. Robert Morris. He posted back-to back double-doubles in his first two A-10 games: 10-10 in the opener vs. Fordham and 15 points and a career-high 11 rebounds vs. La Salle. He had led DU in rebounding in all six A-10 games.
• Sophomore forward Jeremiah Jones who, like Colter, has played in every game in his Duquesne career (48 and counting with 40 starts), has established himself as the Dukes' top defender. Jones, who is averaging 26.5 min/g., has 34 assists and 13 turnovers this season. He has scored in double figures nine times.
• First-year transfer guard Tra'Vaughn White, who led the nation's JC's in scoring last year at 25.9 ppg., has scored double-digit points 10 times, including five off the bench. He scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half to help the Dukes rally from a 10-point halftime deficit to post a win at Saint Francis, Pa. and followed that with 15 points (4-of-4 from 3-point) at UMass Lowell. The Dukes are 7-3 when White scores 10 or more.
• Freshman guard Desmond Ridenour, who scored all nine of his points in 14 first-half minutes against Pitt, topped that with 11 points at Saint Francis. He added eight points and six assists all in 13 second-half minutes at Saint Joseph's and followed that with eight more points and four steals at VCU. The Ohio native has 37 assists - No. 2 on the team - and 24 turnovers in under 16.4 min/g. off the bench.
• Senior Jerry Jones has scored in double digits three times this season. He had 14 points in 20 minutes in the win over UMBC and two games later added 10 points and a career-high six assists in 23 turnover-free minutes vs. Robert Morris. He tied his career high with four 3-pointers - including three in the last 59 seconds - in scoring 14 at Saint Joseph's. Jones has 21 assists and eight turnovers on the season.
• Duquesne, which began the week 16th in NCAA Division I for fewest total turnovers, has four regulars with better than 2:1 assist/turnover ratios: Micah Mason - 6.0-to-1 (36-6), Jeremiah Jones - 2.6-to-1 (34-13), Jerry Jones - 2.6-to-1 (21-8) and Derrick Colter - 2.3-to-1 (72-32). Nine players have either led or tied for the team lead in assists in a game this season. DU began the week ranked 48th nationally in fewest turnovers/g. (at 10.9).
• DU won three in a row on the road for the first time since 2010-11 (five straight) in late December (at Saint Francis, at UMass Lowell and at Texas-Pan American. The three road wins have already eclipsed last year's total (2-12).
UP NEXT: DU heads directly to Philadelphia for a rematch with La Salle on Sat., Feb. 1 at 4:00 p.m. The game will be televised by ROOT Sports Pittsburgh, SNY & The Comcast Network. The Explorers defeated the Dukes, 75-56, in Pittsburgh on Jan. 12.