PREVIEW: St. Bonaventure at @DuqMBB
Feb. 1, 2018
Duquesne (15-8, 6-4) opens the month of February at home vs. long-time rival St. Bonaventure (15-6, 5-4) on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. The game, which is the 119th meeting between the two, will be televised nationally by NBCSN (Mike Monaco & David Kaplan on the call). It is also Duquesne’s annual “Red Out” as the Dukes will don red uniforms for the first time this season. The Bonnies are DU’s most-frequent all-time opponent by far, with West Virginia second at 88 games. This is the first of two meetings this season, as DU will head to Olean for the rematch on Feb. 21.
• DU (12-3 at home) needs one win to break the Palumbo Center record set in 1993-94 (12-3).
• A victory would also give DU its most home wins since 1980-81 (14-2).
• Duquesne ranks 3rd nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.286). The .286 mark, which leads the A-10, is the best in school history. DU ranked 232nd in 3-point defense last season.
• DU has outrebounded 17 of 23 opponents (tied once). The Dukes were outboarded 19 times in 2017. DU leads the A-10 at 38.3 rpg.
• Duquesne is 11-2 when holding opponents under 70 points and 15-0 when leading with 5:00 left.
• Eric Williams Jr., a four-time A-10 Rookie of the Week, is averaging a team-high 16.0 ppg. in conference play. He has four double-doubles in 10 league games and is shooting .492 from 3-point in conference play (29-59).
• The 6-5 Williams Jr., ranks fifth among D-I freshmen in rebounds/g. (9.5 rpg.). The four ahead of him, Marvin Bagley of Duke, Mo Bamba of Texas, Deandre Ayton of Arizona and Brandon McCoy of UNLV, were all ESPN.com 5-star recruits - and are all 6-11 or taller.
• Williams Jr.’s 11 double-digit rebound games are tied for most in the A-10. His nine double-doubles rank second in the conference and tied for seventh nationally among Division I freshmen.
• Tydus Verhoeven, the A-10’s leading shot blocker (51, 2.22/g.), rejected a DU freshman record nine shots vs. George Mason on Jan. 20. He is three blocks shy of tying the DU freshman record of 54 set by Derrick Alston in 1991.
• DU is 13-6 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 11-3 when Brown logs 15 or more minutes.
• Tarin Smith, who entered this season with 21 3-pointers in 63 career games, has 27 3-pointers in 23 games this year.
• Graduate student guard Rene Castro-Caneddy, who entered the season with a 5.0 ppg. scoring average, is scoring at a 13.0 ppg. clip. He has scored in double digits in seven of 10 A-10 games.
• Kellon Taylor came off the bench to score a career-high 11 at GW.
• DU’s three overtime games in 2017-18 are its most since a school record six in 2009-10.
• This is the 119th meeting in a series that dates to Feb. 13, 1920 ... the series is tied at 59-59 ... SBU holds a 33-31 advantage in Atlantic 10 regular season games ... in games played at Pittsburgh, DU leads 40-17 ... the Dukes have won seven of the last 10 at Palumbo Center, while SBU has won the last nine at Reilly Center ... Duquesne owns more conference wins over St. Bonaventure (31) than any other A-10 school.
• St. Bonaventure is Duquesne’s most frequent all-time opponent ... this is the 67th consecutive season the two have met and 13th consecutive year the two are meeting home-and-home ... last year, the Bonnies swept the series, winning 71-64 in Pittsburgh and 80-77 in Olean, N.Y. ... DU’s Mike Lewis II scored 20 in each of the two games ... he was a combined 21-of-24 from the foul line vs. SBU last year.
• The Bonnies have won 12 of the past 16 ... five of the past eight have been determined by four or fewer points.
• SBU, the preseason pick to finish second in the A-10, is 5-4 on the road, with all four losses coming in conference play ... the Bonnies notched their first A-10 road win on Wednesday at George Mason (85-69) ... Matt Mobley (18.4 ppg.) led the way with 35 points, including seven 3-pointers.
NOTING THE DUKES
• DU 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 15-8 start is the best by a DU first-year coach since Dudey Moore went 17-5 in 1948-49 (22-game season). 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 eclipsed last year’s win total (10-22) in its 15th game - a 69-22 win over GW. The Dukes, who were 3-15 in conference play last year, opened A-10 play 4-1. The 6-4 start is the best since 2010-11 (8-2).
• 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 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. (15.0, 9.5) is second in the A-10 with a 9.5 rpg. average - the highest by a Duke since Damian Saunders averaged 11.3 rpg. in 2010. The versatile G/F, who has nine double-doubles, is second on the team with 52 3-pointers and has thrown down a team-high 16 dunks. Williams Jr., who has set DU freshman records for points (34 vs. George Mason) and rebounds (16 vs. Stetson) ranks fifth among Division I freshmen in rebounds per game & tied for seventh in double-doubles (through Jan. 31). Six-nine forward Tydus Verhoeven set a DU freshman record with nine blocks vs. George Mason on Jan. 20. The 6-8 Verhoeven, who has blocked five or more in a game three times, leads the A-10 with 51 blocks in 19.3 minutes per game (2.22 bpg.).