PREVIEW: @DuqMBB at Saint Joseph's
Feb. 15, 2018
Duquesne (15-11, 6-7), which has been idle since last Saturday, returns to action to face Saint Joseph's (11-14, 6-7) on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 6:00 p.m. in Philadelphia (Atlantic 10 Network). The Dukes, who are 2-4 on the road, head to Philly looking to snap a three-game skid. SJU, the preseason pick to finish third in the conference, is 8-2 at home. The SJU game is the first of two in a row on the road for DU, which plays at St. Bonaventure - the A10's preseason No. 2 pick - on Feb. 21.
Duquesne, coming off an 80-57 home loss to Fordham last Saturday, has four double-digit scorers led by sophomore Mike Lewis II at 15.3 ppg. The others are freshman Eric Williams Jr. (14.3 ppg.), grad student Rene Castro-Caneddy (13.4 ppg.) and junior Tarin Smith (12.5 ppg.). All four have hit at least 30 3-pointers led by Lewis II with 73 and Williams Jr. with 56. Saint Joe's which won, 71-55 at Fordham on Wednesday, is led by James Demery (17.4 ppg.) and Shavar Newkirk (17.2 ppg.).
DU held a 15-point second half lead at URI, and also led by 12 in the second half at VCU.
Duquesne ranks 20th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.310). The .310 mark is the second best in school history. DU ranked 232nd in 3-point defense last season. Opponents are 34-of-74 (.459) from the arc in DU's past four games.
Duquesne is shooting .448 from the field in its past three games. Opponents are shooting .565 and averaging 84 ppg. over that same span.
DU, who has outrebounded 17 of 26 opponents (tied once), has been outrebounded in six of its past 10 games.
Duquesne is 11-2 when holding opponents under 70 points and 15-1 when leading with 5:00 left.
Eric Williams Jr., a four-time A-10 Rookie of the Week, is averaging a team-high 14.5 ppg. in conference play. He has four double-doubles in 13 league games. His 11 double-digit rebound games are tied for most in the A-10 and nine double-doubles rank second in the conference and tied for ninth nationally among Division I freshmen.
Tydus Verhoeven, the A-10's leading shot blocker (58, 2.23/g.), has broken the DU freshman record for blocks in a season set by Derrick Alston in 1991 (54). Verhoeven's 58 blocks already rank 10th on DU's career list.
Tarin Smith, who entered this season with 21 3-pointers in 63 career games, has 30 3-pointers in 26 games this year.
Graduate student guard Rene Castro-Caneddy, who entered the season with a 5.0 ppg. scoring average, is scoring at a 13.4 ppg. clip. He has scored in double digits nine times, and totaled 20 or more five times in 13 A-10 games.
DU's three overtime games in 2017-18 are its most since a school record six in 2009-10.
Sophomore Mike Lewis II enters Saturday's game tied for eighth on DU's career 3-pointers list with 136, he needs five to pass Courtney Wallace and move into the No. 7 spot.
This is the 54th game in a series that dates back to Feb. 25, 1938 ... Saint Joseph's leads the series 39-14, including a 20-3 advantage in games played at Philadelphia ... DU snapped a four-game SJU series win streak with a 71-68 victory at Pittsburgh in 2015 and followed that with just its third win in 23 tries in Philadelphia in 2016 ... the Dukes have won two of the past three in Philly.
What was once a lopsided series has tightened considerably over the past 10 years. The Dukes, who lost 16 of 17 to SJU from 1994 through 2007, have won five of the past 11 with three of the five losses coming in overtime. Duquesne has averaged 79.2 ppg. (871 points) to 77.9 ppg. (857 points) to Saint Joe's over that 11-game stretch.
Three of the past 10 meetings have been decided in overtime, with the Hawks winning all three: 99-98 at the Palestra in 2009, 93-90 in the quarterfinal of the A-10 Championship in Atlantic City in 2011 and 84-82 at Pittsburgh in 2012. SJU rallied from a 16-point deficit with under 10 minutes left to pull out the 2012 win. DU rallied from an 18-point second half deficit in the OT loss at the Palestra.
The Dukes, who went 1-19 in their first 20 games at Saint Joe's, posted a 75-63 win on Jan. 5, 2011 and 78-70 victory on Mar. 5, 2016, giving DU wins in two of its past three games at Hagan Arena. DU led by as many as 26 in the second half of the 2011 win. In 2016, Micah Mason scored 28 points - including a big 3-pointer with 1:06 left - in Duquesne's Senior Day win in front of a sellout crowd on Hawk Hill.