Duquesne to Face Saint Joseph's in Atlantic 10 Championship Second Round
March 8, 2011
2011 ATLANTIC 10 CHAMPIONSHIP
#12 SAINT JOSEPH'S (10-21) VS. #4 DUQUESNE (18-11)
TELEVISION: CBS College Sports syndication with Tom McCarthy & John Griffin
2010-11 A-10 CHAMPIONSHIP: Duquesne (18-11) heads to Atlantic City, N.J. for its 33rd appearance at the Atlantic 10 Championship (Fri.-Sun., March 11-13 at Boardwalk Hall). The fourth-seeded Dukes, who were picked to finish eighth in the A-10 in a preseason poll of league coaches and media, are making their fifth consecutive championship appearance under head coach Ron Everhart. Duquesne is 3-4 in A-10 Championship play under Everhart, including a run to the title game in 2009. The No. 4 seed is DU's highest since the 1981 regular-season co-champions entered as a No. 2. The Dukes will take on No. 12 seed Saint Joseph's (10-21) at 2:30 p.m. (EST) on Friday. The game will be syndicated by CBS College Sports television. This is the fourth A-10 Championship meeting - and first since 1996 - between the Dukes and Hawks (SJU leads 2-1). DU won the regular season meeting between the two by a 75-63 score at Philadelphia on Jan. 5.
DUQUESNE LATELY: 2010 & 2011 A10 Defensive Player of the Year Damian Saunders is the only D-I player in NCAA history with over 250 career assists (274), steals (268) & blocks (290) ... he is DU's career leader in steals, blocks, games (124), starts (113) and dunks (164) ... Saunders needs 18 points to pass Kevin Price (1,485 from 1995-98) to take over the No. 11 spot on the all-time scoring list (he has 1,468 points) ... Saunders, DU's No. 3 all-time rebounder (993), needs seven to become the 10th A10 player to reach 1,000 ... senior Bill Clark ranks third on DU's all-time 3-point FG (219) and games played (123) lists ... he ranks 8th in scoring with 1,575 points ... he needs 31 to pass No. 7 Sihugo Green (1,605 from 1954-56) ... Saunders and Clark were both named second team All-A10 this week ... 2011 A10 Rookie of the Year T.J. McConnell is the only freshman in the country with over 300 points, 125 assists and 75 steals (307-128-82) ... he is five steals shy of breaking the A-10 freshman record of 86 set by Temple's Pepe Sanchez in 1997 and eight short of surpassing the DU record (89) set by Saunders last year ... this year's senior class, which is the first to not experience a losing season since 1972-75, has posted 72 wins ... the 72 victories are the most over a four-year period since 1970-73 (74 wins).
LEAGUE FINISH: Duquesne finished the regular season tied with George Washington for 4th in the Atlantic 10 with a 10-6 record. The Dukes secured the No. 4 seed by virtue of their 84-59 regular season GW at the Palumbo Center on Feb. 2. DU's 10 wins tied the school record set in 1981 (10-3) and tied in 1991 (10-8). The fourth place finish was the best by a Duquesne team since the 1994 squad finished in a three-way tie for third with an 8-8 record. DU went 6-2 at home and 4-4 on the road in conference play. The four conference road wins tied the school record. The Dukes posted the first 8-0 conference start in school history. The eight consecutive conference wins were also a school best.
LUCKY NUMBER FOUR?: This is the second time Duquesne has entered the Championship as a No. 4 seed. The only other time DU was a No. 4 was in 1977 when the Dukes, who entered the tournament with a 12-14 record, reeled off wins over No. 5 Penn State, No. 8 Massachusetts and No. 2 Villanova to claim the first championship in conference history. The 1976-77 Dukes, led by Norm Nixon, were 3-7 in league play (third in the West).
PUT YOUR MAKEUP ON, FIX YOUR HAIR UP PRETTY: Duquesne is 3-3 in Atlantic 10 Championship play at Atlantic City. The Dukes suffered a one-point loss to Saint Louis in 2007 and three-point loss to La Salle in 2008 before reeling off three-straight wins to advance to the 2009 title game before losing 69-64 to Temple.
THE SERIES: Saint Joseph's leads the overall series 34-12, including a 30-10 advantage in A-10 regular season games and 2-1 lead in Atlantic 10 Championship games ... this is the first postseason meeting since the 1996 A-10 Championship First Round ... DU has won three of the past four in the series ... the Hawks had won 10 in a row - and 16 of 17 - prior to DU's 102-88 win at the Palumbo Center on Feb. 6, 2008 ... Shawn James had the first triple-double in school history (17-11-10) as DU posted the highest point total by either team in the history of the series ... Aaron Jackson had 18 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists as Duquesne posted its largest margin of victory in the series since a 96-70 win (+26) over SJU in 1990 Atlantic 10 Championship at The Palestra ... DU ended a nine-game losing streak to the Hawks at Philadelphia with a 75-63 win on Jan. 5 ... last year, Melquan Bolding (since transferred to Fairleigh-Dickinson) scored 24 points and Damian Saunders had 15 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks as Duquesne held on for a 74-71 home win at the Palumbo Center ... the Dukes won despite missing four of 10 free throws over the final 3:13 ... DU shot 52.8 percent from the field, including 4-of-19 from the 3-point arc ... the Dukes limited Saint Joseph's to 37.9 percent from the field (5-of-21 from the 3-point arc) ... fifth-year DU head coach Ron Everhart is 3-2 against the Hawks ... the Dukes have posted back-to-back wins against the Hawks for the first time since a three-game streak in 1990 and 1991.
FIRST ROUND - SJU 71, GW 59: No. 12 seed Saint Joseph's which led 43-29 with 11:19 left, survived a game-tying 20-6 run only to outscore No. 5 George Washington 22-10 in overtime to pull away for a 71-59 upset win in Washington, D.C. ... the Hawks, who scored 18 points in the second half, scored the first 12 points of overtime to seal the win ... Saint Joseph's shot 52.3 percent from the field and went 21-of-24 from the line and held the Colonials to 35.7 percent ... Langston Galloway led five Hawks in double figures with 15 points ... SJU, which never trailed, turned it over just 10 times against GW's pressure defense ... the lone tie came at the end of regulation at 49-49.
DU AT A GLANCE: Duquesne, whose starting lineup goes 5-10, 6-0, 6-5, 6-5 & 6-7, has been led by senior 1,000-point scorers and second team All-A-10 performers Bill Clark (1,575 points in 123 g,) and Damian Saunders (1,468 points in 124 g.). The duo ranks first and second on the DU all-time games played list. DU can stake its claim as "the most unselfish team in the nation" with six players over 50 assists. The Dukes, who averaged an Everhart Era "low" 70.3 ppg. last season, have returned to their running ways under their fifth-year head coach (77.3 ppg.). DU began the week ranked among the nation's top 25 in seven categories: turnover margin (1st at 7.3), assists (2nd at 17.9), steals (3rd at 9.7), assist/turnover ratio (14th at 1.36), scoring (18th at 77.3), scoring margin (21st at +10.7) and blocked shots (22nd at 5.3). True freshman T.J. McConnell, the 2010 Rookie of the Year, has ranked among the nation's leaders in steals all season (4th at 2.8 spg.). He and fellow freshman and Mike Talley have started 22 times side-by-side in the backcourt. Talley (35) and McConnell (34), who rank second and tied for third on the team in 3-pointers made, have 196 assists and 91 turnovers (2.2-to-1 ratio) between them.
NOTES FROM THE DUKES CLIPBOARD
Duquesne, which played in the NIT in 2009 & CBI last year, is looking to make its third-straight postseason appearance - something that hasn't occurred on the Bluff since 1968-71 (NIT, NCAA, NIT & NCAA).
DU, which has gone 10-19, 17-13, 21-13, 16-16 & 18-11 (and counting) in five seasons under head coach Ron Everhart, has posted 15+ wins in four straight years for the first time since `68-73. 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.
This is just the second time in the past 30 years Duquesne has won 18 games in a season - both have come under Everhart. The other was two years ago when the Dukes advanced to the A10 title game (21-13 NIT).
This year's senior class of Bill Clark, Damian Saunders and Dave Theis, which is the first to not experience a losing season since 1972-75, is responsible for 72 total wins ... the 72 victories are the most over a four-year period since 1970-73 (74 victories).
DU's 11-game winning streak from Dec. 31 through Feb. 2 was the school's longest since 1970-71 ... 2011 was the first time a Duquesne team opened conference play 8-0 ... the previous best mark was 3-0 in 2008-09 ... the eight consecutive conference wins were also a school record (old mark was five in 1980-81 & 2006-07).
DU (10-6) tied the school record for conference victories set in 1981 (10-3) and matched in 1991 (10-8).
Thousand-point scoring seniors and 2011 second team All-A10 picks Damian Saunders and Bill Clark lead the way for the Dukes. Saunders, who is DU's career blocked shot, steals and games played & started leader ranks 12th in career points (1,468) and third in career rebounds (993). He is already DU's career steals (268) and blocked shot (290) leader. Clark, who has 219 career 3-pointers, ranks 8th on the scoring list with 1,575 points. Saunders and Clark, who have never experienced a losing season at Duquesne, rank first and second in career games played (124 for Saunders and 123 for Clark).
The 6-7 Saunders IS THE ONLY PLAYER IN NCAA HISTORY to post more than 250 assists (274), steals (268) and blocks (290) in a career. Saunders, who is averaging over 2.0 per game in all three categories, has more assists, steals and blocks than turnovers (242) in his career.
Saunders, one of just four two-time A-10 Defensive Players of the Year (2010 & 2011), finished two steals shy of becoming the first player over 6-6 to lead the nation in steals/g. last season (2nd nationally at 2.8 spg.). Saunders' 89 steals in 32 games shattered the DU season record of 71 he set in 34 games as a sophomore. He tied his career high with six steals (five in the first half) on Dec. 8 at Green Bay and has added five more on four other occasions. He broke the DU career record with his 219th steal against George Mason on Dec. 22. Saunders (63 steals) and teammate T.J. McConnell are the only A-10 players averaging over 2.0 spg.
Saunders became Duquesne's all-time leading shot blocker with his four rejections at Penn State on Dec. 4 ... the old mark of 229 was set by 6-10 Derrick Alston in 114 games from 1991-94 ... Saunders broke the record in his 101st game.
Saunders, who has 34 career double-doubles, posted his first this season with 20 points and 11 rebounds (and five assists & three blocks) vs. No. 3 (AP) Pitt on Dec. 1 and went for 12 and 11 vs. George Mason on Dec. 22. He added his 30th career double-double (11-10) vs. Saint Louis, 31st at Fordham (13-12), 32nd at St. Bonaventure (16-14), 33rd at UMass (14-13) and 34th at Richmond (10-11).
The Dukes played their first 10 games (5-5) without junior point guard Eric Evans, who underwent foot surgery on Oct. 27. Evans, who had streaks of 66 games (every game of his DU career) and 32 starts snapped by the injury, was cleared to resume practice on Dec. 21. He saw action for the first time vs. Northwestern State on Dec. 31. Duquesne is 13-6 since Evans' return.
Everhart's Dukes have posted 28 road wins in five seasons. Of the 28 wins, 21 have been by double digits. In the 10 seasons prior to Everhart's arrival, Duquesne went 17-106 on the road with three double-digit victories. All seven of DU's road wins this season have been by double-digit margins.
Ron Everhart's Dukes have scored 100 or more points 10 times in his five seasons. Only Red Manning, who saw his DU teams score 100 or more 23 times in 16 seasons (1959-74) has coached more triple-digit scoring Duquesne teams. Everhart's Dukes have scored 100 or more on the road five times.
Duquesne has led at the half in 24 of 29 games (trailed vs. Pitt, at St. Bonaventure, at Saint Louis and at Richmond & tied at La Salle).
DU tied the school record with 17 steals at Houston Baptist ... in that game Bill Clark tied the single-game mark with seven ... Clark shares the record with five other players ... the Dukes matched the team mark for the second time in four games at La Salle on Jan. 19 and did it again at UMass on Feb. 16.
The Dukes have had five or more double-digit scorers in 11 of their 18 wins.
Six players have attempted at least 55 3-pointers. Every returning player is shooting a better percentage from the arc in 2010-11 than he did last season.
Seventeen of DU's 18 wins have been by double digits, with eight by 20 or more.
Duquesne won five in a row on the road (Dec. 8 through Jan. 26) for the first time since a two-season streak of five that ended in December of 1985 ... DU's four A-10 road wins tied the most in school history (1981 & 2009 are the others).
Duquesne, which is assisting on over 66 percent of its field goals, is averaging 17.9 assists per game - tied for the fifth-highest in Atlantic 10 history. Six players have 50 or more assists.
2011 A-10 Rookie of the Year T.J. McConnell's five Rookie of the Week mentions tied the school record set by Robert Mitchell in 2006-07 ... McConnell (82 steals), who has already broken the DU freshman record for steals (was 70), is eight shy of breaking the school record of 89 set by Damian Saunders in 32 games last year ... he also needs five steals to eclipse the Atlantic 10 freshman mark of 86 set by Temple's Pepe Sanchez in 31 games in 1996-97.
DU received votes in the AP poll for three weeks from Jan. 24 through Feb. 7.