PREVIEW: UMass at Duquesne
Feb. 14, 2017
Duquesne (9-16, 2-10), coming off an 87-81 loss at Saint Louis on Saturday, returns home to face Massachusetts (13-12, 3-9) on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7:00 p.m. (Facebook Live/A-10 Digital Network). The UMass game is the first of three in a row at home for the Dukes.
Duquesne, which lost over 70 percent of its scoring from last season, has incorporated a number of newcomers into the 2016-17 rotation. DU's top four scorers - all starters - are first-year players: freshman Mike Lewis II (13.1 ppg.), graduate transfer Emile Blackman (12.2 ppg.), freshman Isiaha Mike (10.4 ppg.) and Nebraska transfer sophomore Tarin Smith (9.1 ppg.). None of DU's top eight scorers averaged more than 9.2 minutes per game last year.
Lewis II & Mike have combined to earn Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week six times (three each). It is the first time DU has had two multiple ROW in the same year. The last A-10 team to have two rookies earn the honor at least three times in a season is Saint Louis in 2005-06 (Tommie Liddell six times and Kevin Lisch three times).
SERIES QUICK NOTES
The series had been one of home court advantage until recently as UMass has won five of the past six in Pittsburgh, while Duquesne has won two of its past five at Amherst.
Danny Nee's Dukes snapped a 16-game series losing streak (dating back to 1991) with a 78-69 win over the Minutemen on February 6, 2002 at the Palumbo Center. Since then, UMass has won 11 and Duquesne seven.
The last two meetings in Pittsburgh have been down to the wire. On March 5, 2014, in a game that featured eight ties and 11 lead changes, Trey Davis gave the Minutemen the lead for good on a 3-pointer with 1:43 left in what turned out to be a 78-74 win. Last year, UMass rallied from a 10-point deficit with just over 11 minutes left to defeat the Dukes 108-99 in overtime.
The Minutemen snapped five-game losing streak with an 87-76 win at Saint Joseph's on Saturday ... Donte Clark (14.4 ppg.) averaged 27.0 ppg. in UMass' two games last week to earn co-A-10 Player of the Week honors. The 6-4 junior guard shot 60.9% (14-of-23), including 5-of-12 from 3-point, in a home loss to Rhode Island and the win at SJU.
DUQUESNE - 23.5 ppg.
Lewis II (13.1 ppg.) and Isiaha Mike (10.4 ppg.) are the highest scoring freshman duo in the Atlantic 10.
Grad transfer Emile Blackman, who is averaging 14.3 ppg. in conference play, is scoring at a 15.8 ppg. clip in his past five games. He is shooting .471, including 11-of-19 from 3-point (.579) over that span.
Junior forward Jordan Robinson came off the bench to score a season-high 14 points in a season-high 26 minutes at Saint Louis. The Toronto native went 5-of-6 from the field before fouling out with 1:20 left.
Junior guard Rene Castro has turned it over twice in 102 minutes over DU's past six games. Castro has 25 assists and 10 turnovers in conference play. He is averaging 7.3 ppg. in A-10 games.
The Dukes are 6-6 when turning it over fewer than 15 times and 6-6 when outrebounding their opponent.
DU has held seven teams under 40 percent shooting this season: Loyola, Md. (.365), UT Martin (.348), Cleveland State (.385), Pitt (.333), Jackson State (.355), Colgate (.371) & at Fordham (.388). The Dukes are 6-1 in those games. Teams are shooting .469 and averaging 80.6 ppg. vs. DU in A-10 play.