Dukes Host A-10 Co-Leader Saint Joseph's Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 5, 2008
SAINT JOSEPH'S (15-5, 6-1) at DUQUESNE (13-7, 3-4)
Duquesne, looking to end a two-game losing streak, faces the formidable task of hosting Atlantic 10 co-leader Saint Joseph's (15-5, 6-1) at 7:00 p.m. Wed., Feb. 6.
Saint Joseph's, coming off a convincing 77-55 win over city rival Villanova on Monday, brings both a six-game win streak and the A-10's best road record (8-3) to the Palumbo Center.
Duquesne is looking to right its ship after scoring a season-low 59 points in a 74-59 loss at St. Bonaventure on Saturday. The Dukes have struggled from the field as of late, shooting a combined .351 (47-of-134) in back-to-back losses to UMass and at SBU. Duquesne shot a season-low .342 and went 20-of-36 from the foul line in the loss to the Minutemen and was outscored 46-28 and outshot .650 to .345 in the second half at St. Bonaventure.
Duquesne, whose 13 wins are its most since 1993-94 (17-13), is 9-2 at home with losses to then-No. 12 (AP) Pitt (73-68) and UMass (94-80).
Saint Joe's owns A-10 road wins over UMass, Temple and George Washington.
The Hawks, winner of 11 of their last 12, were picked to finish third in the conference in a preseason poll of A-10 coaches and media.
DUQUESNE LATELY: Duquesne's, 13-7 start is its best since the 1980-81 NIT team (20-10) opened 14-6 ... DU's 13 wins are its most since the 1993-94 (17-13 NIT) ... the Dukes, who held two of 29 opponents under .400 in finishing ranked 324th of 325 NCAA D-I teams in field goal pct. defense (.507) last season, are holding opponents to an A-10 second best .408 this year ... eight different DU players are averaging over 7.0 ppg. and seven have hit at least 10 3-pointers ... four of DU's seven losses have come to teams with a combined record of 72-15: at Drake 20-1, Pitt 17-5, at West Virginia 16-6 and at Rhode Island 19-3 ... the losses at Drake, to Pitt and at Rhode Island were by a combined 11 points ... DU currently ranks 5th nationally in scoring (84.3 ppg.) & blocks (7.1 bpg.), 7th in assists (18.7 apg.) & 11th in steals (9.8 spg.) ... Shawn James, who ranks 5th nationally in blocks per game (3.9), became the 18th player in NCAA Division-I history to record 400 career blocked shots with his five rejections vs. GW on Jan. 26 ... he has 406 blocks in 74 career games.
THE SERIES: This is the 43rd meeting in a series that dates back to Feb. 25, 1938 ... Saint Joseph's leads the series 33-9, including a 13-6 mark vs. Duquesne in games played at Pittsburgh ... Saint Joe's has won 10 in a row and 16 of the past 17 against the Dukes ... Duquesne's last series win came 10 years ago at home on Jan. 17, 1998 (88-77) ... the Hawks' average margin of victory in the past eight wins has been +21.9 ppg. ... last year, Saint Joseph's held the Dukes to 12 first half points in an 89-41 win at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse ... SJU has won the past five at the Palumbo Center.
A victory over Saint Joseph's would:
SHOOTING WOES: Duquesne, which shot under 40 percent in two of its first 16 games, is coming off its two worst shooting performances of the season (.342 in a 94-80 loss to UMass and .362 in a 74-59 loss at St. Bonaventure) giving the Dukes three sub-40 percent outings in their past four games (DU shot .397 in an 83-67 win over the Bonnies on Jan. 23). DU is 14-of-58 (.241) from the 3-point arc in its past two:
3-POINT SHOOTING (last 2 g.) 3M-AT PCT Damian Saunders 3-4 .750 Shawn James 1-2 .500 Gary Tucker 4-11 .364 Phillip Fayne 1-3 .333 Aaron Jackson 1-4 .250 Jason Duty 2-10 .200 Reggie Jackson 1-6 .167 Kojo Mensah 1-7 .143 Kieron Achara 0-4 .000 Bill Clark 0-7 .000 TOTAL 14-58 .241
STARTING THE YEAR RIGHT: Duquesne finished the month of January with a 4-3 record. It was the first time a DU team had a winning January since the 1983-84 Dukes went 5-4.
LEFTOVERS FROM SBU: Random notes from Duquesne's 74-59 loss at St. Bonaventure on Saturday: DU's 59 points were its fewest since a 71-59 home loss to Fordham last year ... the Dukes were outscored 46-28 and outshot 65.0 to 34.5 percent in the second half ... Duquesne, which led 31-28 at the half, watched the Bonnies open the second half with a 21-7 run ... DU went 6-of-27 from the 3-point arc (2-of-14 in the second half) ... Gary Tucker's career-high three 3-pointers were half of the Dukes' total ... Tucker had 13 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals in 22 minutes ... guards Kojo Mensah, Reggie Jackson and Jason Duty were a combined 4-of-20 from the field ... there were nine ties and nine lead changes before the Bonnies took the lead for good with 16:03 to go ... SBU's lead reached 18 with 1:08 left ... DU, which had one fewer field goal than St. Bonaventure, was outscored 23-11 from the foul line.
CLOSE ONES: Four of the Dukes first five losses came by a total of 12 points: 77-73 at currently nationally ranked Drake, 73-68 to then-No. 12 (AP) Pitt, 80-78 at then-No. 22 (AP) Rhode Island and 75-74 at Fordham, while each of the last two have been by 14 (94-80 to UMass) and 15 (74-59 at St. Bonaventure) points. DU's only other double-digit loss was on Dec. 8 at West Virginia (92-68). The Dukes have played in four games decided by single digits (all by five or fewer points) and are 0-4 in those games.
QUICK NOTES: Duquesne has four first-year players playing prominent roles in transfers Shawn James (Northeastern) & Kojo Mensah (Siena) and true freshmen Damian Saunders & Bill Clark ... DU is +5.0 turnovers per game in conference play (101 to 136 for opponents) ... Aaron Jackson has 22 assists and six turnovers in a team-high 185 minutes of Atlantic 10 play ... Jackson is shooting .539 despite going 5-of-14 in his past two games ... Jackson started the week with the third-best turnover ratio in the A-10 (2.29-to-1, began the week ranked 37th nationally) ... is DU's second-leading rebounder in conference play (5.1 rpg.) ... Reggie Jackson, who was averaging 3.6 ppg. following the Dec. 5 Pitt game, brings a 7.9 ppg. scoring average into Wednesday's game ... Jackson has handed out 45 assists (4.5 apg.) in his past 10 games, including a career-high nine vs. Robert Morris on Dec. 28 ... Jackson, who averaged 16.0 ppg. over a four-game early-January stretch, has followed that by averaging 5.5 ppg. in his past four games (8-of-27, .296 from the field over that span) ... it took Shawn James four games to break the Atlantic 10 and Duquesne records for blocks in a game (he had 12 blocks in 22 minutes in Duquesne's 92-77 win at Oakland on Nov. 20) and 15 games to break the school mark for blocks in a season ... James' 74 blocks have shattered the school mark of 60 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 mark ... the previous A-10 record of 11 blocks in a game 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 ... with his five rejections against George Washington on Jan. 26, James became the 18th player in NCAA Division I history to reach 400 for his career ... James has 406 blocked shots in 74 career games ... had a 20-10 double-double at Fordham before suffering a knee injury in practice on Monday, Jan. 21 that kept him in street clothes for the Jan. 23 St. Bonaventure game ... came back to score a season-high 21 points to go along with seven rebounds and five blocks vs. GW ... is shooting an Atlantic 10-best .576 from the field (ranks 30th nationally)... Kojo Mensah has had streaks of 18 & 13 consecutive free throws made this season ... Mensah, who posted his fourth 20-point game with 22 on Dec. 28 vs. Robert Morris, is tied with James for the team lead in 20-point games ... Mensah had scored in double digits in five-straight games before scoring a season-low three on 1-of-8 shooting at St. Bonaventure ... DU is 2-3 when Mensah scores in single digits and 11-1 when Mensah attempts six or more free throws ... Mensah's 114 free throw attempts are 26 more than any other DU player ... Mensah is 5-of-21 from the field with five assists and seven turnovers in his past two games ... 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 32 steals and is second on the team with a 5.3 rebounds per game average ... he is third in blocks (22) and 3-pointers made (16-of-40, .400) ... 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 4.7 rpg. average ... Clark, who hit at least one three in 13 of his first 15 games, has gone without a 3-pointer in three of his past five ... he is 2-of-17 from the arc over that span ... Kieron Achara, who played just six minutes at Rhode Island after suffering a mild concussion and loosened tooth 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 - fresh off a root canal the previous day - posted 18 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals in 28 minutes vs. St. Bonaventure on Jan. 23 ... Achara had eight points and four rebounds before fouling out in 13 minutes vs. GW ... Phillip Fayne is 5-of-10 from the 3-point arc in his past four games.