PREVIEW: Saint Louis at @DuqMBB
Feb. 26, 2018
Duquesne (15-14, 6-10) completes the home portion of the 2017-18 schedule when it takes on Saint Louis (16-13, 9-7) on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 7:00 p.m. (Stadium). DU, which honored final year players Chas Brown, Rene Castro-Caneddy, Eric James & Jordan Robinson prior to Saturday's game vs. Davidson, will recognize radio play-by-play man Ray Goss, who is completing his 50th season as play-by-play voice of the Dukes, prior to the game.
DU, which is 12-6 at home, is looking to end a six-game skid against a Saint Louis team that has won eight of its past 11. The Billikens current streak began with a 76-63 win over Duquesne at Chaifetz Arena on Jan. 17. DU which entered the first SLU game 13-5, has gone 2-9 since. DU needs one win to break the Palumbo Center record set in 1993-94 (12-3). A victory would also give DU its most home wins since 1980-81 (14-2 at Pittsburgh Civic Arena).
Duquesne ranks 27th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.317). The .317 mark is the second best in school history. DU ranked 232nd in 3-point defense last season.
DU, who has outrebounded 17 of 29 opponents (tied twice), has been outrebounded in eight of its past 13 games. Saint Louis outrebounded Duquesne 44-33 in the first meeting on 1/17. It is the third-largest margin by an opponent this season.
Duquesne is 11-2 when holding opponents under 70 points and 15-1 when leading with 5:00 left.
DU's three overtime games in 2017-18 are its most since a school record six in 2009-10.
Eric Williams Jr., a four-time A-10 Rookie of the Week, has five double-doubles in 16 league games. His 12 double-digit rebound games & 10 double-doubles rank second in the conference.
Williams Jr. took over the team scoring lead (14.6 ppg.) with his team-high 19 points on Feb. 21 at St. Bonaventure. Williams Jr., who also leads DU in rebounding (8.8 rpg.), is bidding to become just the second freshman in school history to lead the Dukes in both categories, joining Wayne Smith (16.6, 6.2) who accomplished the feat in 1998-99.
Williams Jr., who is 62-of-171 (.363) from the 3-point arc, needs two 3-pointers to eclipse the freshman record of 63 set by teammate Mike Lewis II last year.
Williams Jr., who ranks fifth on DU's freshman total points list, needs 45 to pass record holder Wayne Smith (466 in 1999). His 254 rebounds are 37 shy of passing Dick Ricketts (290 in 1952) for most by a DU freshman.
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 11 times, and totaled 20 or more six times in 16 A-10 games. His 14.2 ppg. scoring average in conference play is second on the team.
Tarin Smith, who entered this season with 21 3-pointers in 63 career games, has 37 3-pointers in 29 games this year. Smith, who entered the season a .256 career 3-point shooter (.212 at Duquesne), is shooting .343 this season.
With his five 3-pointers vs. Davidson on Saturday, sophomore Mike Lewis II moved into the No. 7 spot on DU's career 3-pointers list with 142, he needs 38 to pass Wayne Smith and move into the No. 6 spot. Lewis II needs 129 points to become DU's 39th 1,000-point scorer.
Tydus Verhoeven, the A-10's leading shot blocker (63, 2.17/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.
This is the 28th game between Duquesne and Saint Louis ... SLU leads the series 14-13 ... in games at Pittsburgh, DU leads 7-5 ... DU had won five in a row prior to an 87-81 Billikens win in St. Louis last season ... SLU followed that with a 72-71 comeback win over the Dukes in the first round of the A-10 Championship at PPG Paints Arena and a 76-63 home win on Jan. 17.
Saint Louis had won seven of eight - including five in a row, before DU's upset win over the No. 10 (AP) Billikens at Chaifetz Arena on Feb. 27, 2014 ... the Dukes have won six of 10 since, including the upset win.
This is the ninth time the Dukes and Billikens are playing home-and-home ... DU swept the series in 2016 and SLU has swept twice (2010 & 2012) ... the two have split five times (2009, 2011, 2014, 2015 & 2017).
SLU, picked to finish 7th in the A-10 preseason poll, is battling for one of four A-10 Championship byes ... the Billikens, who are coming off a 62-53 home win over George Washington on Saturday, are 3-7 on the road (3-5 in A-10) with conference wins at UMass, Saint Joseph's and Richmond ... junior guard and Michigan State transfer Javon Bess leads SLU at 13.0 ppg. ... the Billikens lead the A-10 in free throws per game (24.6), rebound margin (+4.8) and fewest points per game allowed (64.7) ... SLU is holding opponents to .419 shooting, good for second-best in the A-10.