PREVIEW: Davidson at @DuqMBB
Feb. 22, 2018
Duquesne (15-13, 6-9) returns home to face Davidson (16-10, 11-4) on Saturday, Feb. 24 at Noon (AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh). DU will honor final year players Chas Brown, Rene Castro-Caneddy, Eric James and Jordan Robinson in a pregame ceremony. Saturday will also be DU's annual Chuck Cooper Classic, which honors the legacy of the trailblazing former Duke who was the first African-American drafted by an NBA team. In addition, the first 500 fans in attendance will receive a limited edition LeBron James bobblehead.
The Dukes, who are 12-5 at home, are looking to end a five-game skid. Davidson, winner of six of its past seven, is 4-3 on the road in conference play.
Two of DU's conference losses have come on last-second shots (a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at then No. 24 (AP) Rhode Island and a 3-pointer with 3.8 seconds left vs. St. Bonaventure). The Dukes lost a third game in overtime at home to Richmond. DU held a 15-point second half lead at URI, and also led by 12 in the second half at VCU.
Duquesne ranks 19th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.312). The .312 mark is the second best in school history. DU ranked 232nd in 3-point defense last season.
DU, who has outrebounded 17 of 28 opponents (tied twice), has been outrebounded in seven of its past 12 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, has five double-doubles in 15 league games. His 12 double-digit rebound games & 10 double-doubles rank second in the conference.
Williams Jr., who leads the Dukes in scoring (14.6 ppg.) and rebounding (8.9), needs four 3-pointers eclipse the freshman record of 63 set by teammate Mike Lewis II last year.
Tydus Verhoeven, the A-10's leading shot blocker (63, 2.25/g.), has broken the DU freshman record for blocks in a season set by Derrick Alston in 1991 (54). Verhoeven's 63 blocks already rank tied for 8th on DU's career list.
Tarin Smith, who entered this season with 21 3-pointers in 63 career games, has 36 3-pointers in 28 games this year.
Graduate student guard Rene Castro-Caneddy, who entered the season with a 5.0 ppg. scoring average, is scoring at a 13.8 ppg. clip. He has scored in double digits 11 times, and totaled 20 or more six times in 15 A-10 games. His 14.8 ppg. scoring average in conference play is second on the team.
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 eighth on DU's career 3-pointers list with 137, he needs four to pass Courtney Wallace and move into the No. 7 spot.
This is the sixth meeting between Duquesne and fourth-year Atlantic 10 member Davidson ... the Wildcats - who were a home-and-home opponent of the Dukes in each of their first two A-10 seasons - swept the season series both seasons ... this is the second year the two are meeting just once.
Last year, Jack Gibbs scored 32 points, including 21 in the second half, as Davidson held off an inspired Duquesne rally to defeat the Dukes, 74-60, before a sellout crowd at Belk Arena. DU cut a 23-point halftime deficit to six five times in the second half, but could get no closer before a crowd of 5,315 on hand to honor former Davidson standout and two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, for whom the student section was named in a halftime ceremony.
In the last meeting at A.J. Palumbo Center, Jack Gibbs scored 25 points and Brian Sullivan added 22 to lead Davidson to a 93-82 win on Feb. 6, 2016. Derrick Colter and Micah Mason had 22 and 21 points respectively for Duquesne, which saw a win streak snapped at three. The Dukes outshot the Wildcats 43.8 percent to 42.1 percent and finished with 13 3-pointers to 12 for Davidson. It was Duquesne's first loss when making 10 or more 3-pointers.
Returnees accounted for just 12 of the 60 points Duquesne scored against Davidson last season. The six returnees who played in that game went a combined 4-of-24 from the field.
Davidson extended its win streak to three with a 76-52 home win over Fordham on Wednesday. The Wildcats, who are 5-7 on the road - including 4-3 in conference play, are led by preseason first team All-A-10 forward Peyton Aldridge (20.7, 7.4). Aldridge, who eclipsed the 2,000 career point mark in his 16-point outing vs. Fordham, leads the Wildcats in scoring and rebounding. Freshman Kellan Grady (16.7 ppg.) who has scored 20 or more eight times, led the Wildcats with 28 points on 11-of-13 shooting in the Fordham win.
In a game that featured 14 ties and 10 lead changes, St. Bonaventure pulled away in the final minute to defeat Duquesne 73-67 at Reilly Center.