Duquesne Men at Saint Louis on Saturday
Feb. 25, 2010
DUQUESNE (15-12, 6-7) at SAINT LOUIS (18-9, 9-4)
TELEVISION: KPLR-TV (St. Louis viewing area only)
DUKES FACE THIRD-STRAIGHT 18-WIN TEAM: Duquesne (15-12, 6-7), winner of three in a row and six of its past nine, hits the road to face its third consecutive 18-win team when it plays at Saint Louis (18-9, 9-4) on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 8:00 p.m. (EST). The Dukes, who won at Charlotte (then 18-6) and defeated Dayton (then 18-7) at home in their past two outings, are looking to become the first team in school history to win three consecutive Atlantic 10 road games (DU won at George Washington on Feb. 6). Duquesne teams have won back-to-back A-10 road games on 15 occasions - but never three in a row. It won't be easy for the Dukes who will be facing a SLU team that is 14-2 at Chaifetz Arena. Duquesne, which was averaging 67.5 ppg. at the start of its current three-game streak, has averaged 86.3 ppg. in its past three games. The Dukes have seen their RPI rise over 30 spots since Feb. 12 (from 119 to 83 thru Wednesday's games). Duquesne has assisted on 60 of 90 field goals (66.7%) and forced 64 turnovers during the current three-game streak. DU rallied from a 14-point first half deficit to win going away versus La Salle and erased a 10-point second half Charlotte lead in the win over the 49ers. The Dukes trailed Dayton by seven in the early moments of the second half before rallying for a 73-71 win on Sunday. Bill Clark has led the attack with 64 points (21.3 ppg.) on 21-of-35 shooting (.600) in the past three games.
DUQUESNE LATELY: DU, which opened A-10 play 0-4, has won six of its past nine ... DU has had its complete roster intact for 10 games this season, including each of the past nine ... the Dukes are 6-3 over that current nine-game span ... junior F Damian Saunders, who topped the 1,000-point mark with 15 vs. UMass on Feb. 11 (88th g. of his career), began the week ranked 4th nationally in double-doubles (18), 4th in steals/g. (2.8), 5th in rebounds/g. (11.6) and 8th in blocks/g. (3.3) ... his 76 steals have broken the DU season record of 71 he set in 34 games last year ... fellow junior G/F Bill Clark joined Saunders in the 1,000-point club while scoring a career high 34 vs. La Salle on Feb. 14 (it was the 88th g. of his career) ... DU has played a school record six OT games (2-4) ... the NCAA record is eight, by three schools ... DU is limiting opponents to 69.4 ppg. ... it is the lowest opponent scoring average since 1985-86 (68.9 ppg.) ... DU opponents are shooting .404, which translates to DU's best field goal percentage defense since 1970-71 (.389) ... last year, Duquesne ranked 309th of 330 teams in scoring defense (74.7 ppg.) and 294th in field goal percentage defense (.462).
STREAKIN': During its current three-game win streak Duquesne:
THE SERIES: This is the 11th meeting between Duquesne and fifth-year Atlantic 10 member Saint Louis ... Duquesne leads the series 6-4, with the two tied at 3-3 in Atlantic 10 play ... DU is 1-2 at SLU ... Saint Louis is one of three A-10 teams the Dukes face twice this season (L/W with Dayton and W/Mar. 3 with St. Bonaventure are the others) ... last year at St. Louis, Kevin Lisch scored 21 points and Willie Reed converted a big three-point play with 12 seconds left in overtime to help the Billikens to a 78-74 overtime win at Chaifetz Arena ... Aaron Jackson, who hit a jumper at the end of regulation to force the OT, scored a game-high 29 for Duquesne ... SLU took the first meeting this season, 79-75 in double overtime at Pittsburgh on Jan. 13 ... Saint Louis notched its first series win four years ago at the Palumbo Center by a 70-57 score ... four of the past five meetings between the two have been decided by a total of 11 points, with two decided in overtime ... fourth-year DU head coach Ron Everhart is 3-3 against Saint Louis ... SLU is 14-2 at home (5-1 in A-10) this season.
SLU THIS YEAR: Considering only scholarship players, the Billikens' roster is 91.7 percent underclassmen (11 of 12), the highest percentage in the nation ... in addition, the Billikens have the fewest upperclassmen (one - junior Paul Eckerle) in the country ... the Saint Louis roster consists of eight freshmen, four sophomores and a junior ... SLU opened the season with four straight wins for the first time since the 1997-98 team opened with eight consecutive victories ... the Billikens, picked to finish seventh in the A-10 preseason poll, are coming off a 73-71 home loss to Xavier on Wednesday ... it was just the second home loss for SLU which is 14-2 at Chaifetz Arena.
THE FIRST MEETING: Kwamain Mitchell scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half and Saint Louis scored the first seven points of the second overtime to defeat Duquesne 79-75 at the Palumbo Center. Duquesne tied the game at the end of regulation on a Sean Johnson drive with 35 seconds left and DU's Bill Clark forced the second overtime with a 3-pointer with 9.1 seconds remaining. Willie Reed opened the second overtime with a dunk followed by a Kyle Cassity 3-pointer. Cody Ellis added another bucket following a Duquesne offensive foul to put SLU up 67-60. Duquesne cut it to three with 22 seconds left, but Mitchell, who had eight points at the end of regulation, hit 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to seal the win. (a full box and recap is included on the next page).
DAYTON LEFTOVERS: Damian Saunders scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half, including a driving layup with 25.8 seconds left that proved to be the game-winner ... Saunders did not score until the 2:04 mark of the first half ... the Dukes won despite going 2-of-18 from the 3-point arc and 17-of-31 from the foul line ... Dayton, which shot 48 percent, hit nine of its 11 3-pointers in the second half ... DU outscored UD 24-10 off turnovers and 18-0 in fast break points ... Dayton's 21 turnovers were one fewer than its season high of 22 set in an early-season win over Georgia Tech ... Eric Evans played a strong floor game with 14 points (6-of-9) and four assists in 28 minutes ... B.J. Monteiro handed out a career-high five assists ... Dayton's largest lead was seven with 18:13 to go in the second half ... Duquesne led by six with 3:43 to go ... there were a total of five ties and five lead changes in the final 12:40 ... Dayton's Chris Wright, who scored UD's first 11 points, had 13 at the half ... he finished the game with 15 ... Wright, along with senior guards London Warren and Rob Lowery, finished with 14 combined turnovers.
NOTES FROM THE DUKES CLIPBOARD
Duquesne returns four starters from last year's 21-13 NIT team. DU's 21 wins last season were the most since the 1971 NCAA team went 21-4.
One of the key returnees, 6-3 sophomore Melquan Bolding, missed seven weeks of practice (13 games) with a fractured wrist suffered in the opener vs. Nicholls State. Bolding, who had a team-high 25 points vs. Nicholls, had surgery on his right (shooting) wrist Nov. 17 and had a hard cast removed on Dec. 1. He was cleared to resume practice on Jan. 5. The Dukes were 8-5 without Bolding.
DU, which has gone 10-19, 17-13 & 21-13 in three seasons under head coach Ron Everhart, is looking for its third consecutive winning campaign. The last time that happened on the Bluff was from 1968-73 when Red Manning's Dukes finished above .500 six straight times. Duquesne was coming off a 3-24 season, and had finished above .500 once (1994) in the 21 years prior to Everhart taking over in 2006-07.
Juniors Damian Saunders (second team) and Bill Clark (third team), both preseason All-Atlantic 10 picks, have led the way for the Dukes so far. Saunders is averaging 15.0 ppg., 11.6 rpg., 2.8 spg. and 3.3 bpg. Saunders' 18 double-doubles began the week ranked fourth in the nation. Clark is averaging 13.9 ppg. & 6.0 rpg. (with 39 3-pointers). Saunders topped the 1,000-point mark on Feb. 11 vs. UMass and Clark did it on Feb. 14 vs. La Salle. Both topped 1,000 in their 88th game.
DU has held second half leads in 22 of 27 games ... the Dukes have led at the half 16 times and managed a double-digit lead in 13 games.
DU has played a school record six overtime games (2-4), including a school record three multiple-overtime games (all double OT). The NCAA record for OT games in a season is eight done by Western Kentucky in 1978, Portland in 1984 and Valparaiso in 1993.
Duquesne has held 16 of 27 teams under 40 percent from the field. In the first three seasons under Ron Everhart (93 games), DU held a total of 17 teams under 40 percent.
DU opponents are shooting .404 and averaging 69.4 ppg. The opponent field goal percentage is the lowest caused by a Duquesne team since 1970-71 (.389). The 69.4 opponent points per game are the lowest since 1985-86 (68.9 ppg.).
Five players have scored 20 or more in a game: Damian Saunders (six times), Bill Clark (four times), Melquan Bolding (three times), B.J. Monteiro (twice) and Eric Evans (once). In addition, six players have led the Dukes in scoring at least once. DU and La Salle are the only A-10 schools to have five 20-point scorers this season.
Damian Saunders (37.2 min/g) has played 40 or more minutes eight times including 50 vs. Canisius & Saint Louis. He is averaging 38.5 min./g. in A-10 play (500 of a possible 540 minutes).
Damian Saunders was the first Duquesne player in 39 years to open a season with six-straight double-doubles. He added a second in-season streak of nine more in a row. His 18 double-doubles are the most by a DU player since Bruce Atkins' 22 in 1980-81.
Saunders' 11.6 rebounds per game average - in addition to being tied for the eighth-best average in Atlantic 10 history - is the best by a Duquesne player since Bruce Atkins averaged 11.7 rpg. in 1980-81 ... his 314 total rebounds are the most by a DU player since Atkins had 352 in 1980-81.
Saunders (212 career blks), who rejected a career-high nine at Old Dominion on Dec. 30 (third highest total in school history), ranks second on DU's all-time blocked shot list. He trails only Derrick Alston (229 from 1991-94).
Saunders needs 10 steals to pass current Washington Wizards guard Mike James (201 from 1995-98) and move into the No. 3 spot in DU's career list ... his 76 steals have already broken the school single-season record of 71 he set last year in 34 games.
DU is 51-8 (13-3 this season) when leading with 5:00 minutes left and 9-0 (5-0 this season) when holding opponents under 60 points under Ron Everhart ... the Dukes are 5-0 this year in games decided by three or fewer points.
Duquesne is 8-1 in afternoon games (tip prior to 7:00 p.m.), with the lone loss coming in overtime at Dayton.
Duquesne has opened with at least four consecutive wins in each of the past three seasons (4-0 this season, 4-0 last year and 6-0 in 2007-08). The 2007-08 start was the school's best in 28 years. The last time Duquesne put together three consecutive seasons with 4-0 (or better starts) was from 1961 through 1963 (4-0, 7-0 & 5-0).
Duquesne faced an Atlantic 10-tying high five NCAA tournament teams in non-conference play in Binghamton (W, 70-52, neutral), Pitt (L, 67-58 in 2OT at Mellon Arena), Radford (W, 71-63, home), Robert Morris (W, 59-54, home) and at No. 6 (AP) West Virginia (L, 68-39). La Salle is the only other conference school that played as many 2008-09 NCAA tournament teams in non-league play.
According to research compiled by the University of Central Florida sports information department, only nine Division I schools have more underclassmen than Duquesne's 10.
Ron Everhart's Dukes have scored 100 or more points seven times in his four seasons. Only Red Manning, who saw his DU teams score 100 or more 23 times in 16 seasons (1959-74) has coached more 100-point scoring Duquesne teams.