Dukes Take on Rhode Island in A-10 Quarterfinal
March 12, 2009
2008-09 ATLANTIC 10 CHAMPIONSHIP
#7 DUQUESNE (19-11) vs. #2 RHODE ISLAND (22-9)
TELEVISION: CBS College Sports Regional with Tom McCarthy & Steve Wolf
ROUND TWO: Duquesne advanced to the second round by virtue of its 91-81win over No. 7 seed Massachusetts yesterday. The victory was just the Dukes' second Atlantic 10 Tournament opening round win in the past 14 years. The other was a 79-76 win over No. 4 East UMass at UD Arena in 2004 when the Dukes were a No. 5 seed in the West. Duquesne will be looking to post back-to-back victories in the Atlantic 10 Tournament for the first time since 1985, when Jim Satalin's Dukes - playing as a #8 seed - defeated #9 Penn State (78-64) and #1 West Virginia (70-66) before losing to #4 Rutgers (78-53) in the semifinal at Piscataway, N.J.
DUKES AND RAMS: Rhode Island leads the all-time series 26-22 ... in A-10 regular-season games, URI leads 23-19 ... this is the third meeting between the two at the A-10 Championship and first since No. 3 East Rhody defeated No. 6 West Duquesne 75-73 at URI's Ryan Center ... No. 8 Duquesne defeated No. 9 Rhode Island 82-69 at Philadelphia' Palestra in the first round in 1995 ... the Rams have won the last five - and 13 of the past 16 - with Duquesne's last series win coming at the Ryan Center by a 72-55 score on Jan. 21, 2004 ... the Rams have won the past two by a total or four points, 80-78 win at Kingston, R.I. last year and 73-71 at Pittsburgh on March 1.
DUQUESNE LATELY: The Dukes are looking to win back-to-back A-10 Tournament games for the first time in 24 years ... Duquesne is 0-8 in the second round since posting its last second round win in 1985 ... DU is looking to post 20 wins for the first time since the 1981 NIT team went 20-10 ... Rhode Island (0-3) is one of two Atlantic 10 teams third-year DU coach Ron Everhart has yet to defeat (Richmond is the other) ... senior point guard Aaron Jackson, who has never missed a game in his Duquesne career, will be taking the floor for his 117th consecutive game ... only Tony Petrarca (120 games from 1987-91) has played in more games at Duquesne ... Jackson, who had seven assists in last night's win over UMass needs four to break the school record of 178 set by Norm Nixon in 1977 ... 6-7 soph. F Damian Saunders, who began the week ranked among the nation's top 30 in steals (24th at 2.3/g.) and blocks (26th at 2.3/g.) ... needs four steals to break the DU single-season record of 70 set by Clayton Adams in 1988 ... Saunders' 71 blocks rank second in Duquesne's all-time list ... DU has set a new school record for 3-point makes (250) and is five attempts shy of breaking the record set in 2007 (239-of-722) ... DU's 510 assists are 29 shy of the school record of 539 set last year.
Notes from last night's 91-81 win over Massachusetts ...
FIRST "W" SINCE 2004: It was Duquesne's second Atlantic 10 Championship win since 1995 and first since 2004. It was also the first A-10 Championship win in three tries for third-year Duquesne coach Ron Everhart.
91 POINTS: DU's 91 points were its most in an A-10 Championship game since a 96-70 win over Saint Joseph's in 1990.
MEL'S BIG NIGHT: Freshman Melquan Bolding's 23 points were three shy of his career high of 26 set vs. George Washington on Jan. 14 ... his 13 rebounds were a career best as well as the second-highest freshman total in A-10 Championship history (7-1 Yinka Dare had 14 for George Washington vs. Rhode Island in 1993) ... Bolding's top rebounding game prior to last night was seven vs. both Xavier and Richmond.
DOUBLE E's BIG SECOND HALF: Eric Evans scored all of his 14 points in 12 second half minutes. He combined with Bolding to score 15 of DU's final 22 points. Evans started the run with a four-point play that put DU up 73-66 with 5:22 left.
LET'S SEE ... I'M A FRESHMAN IN A POST-SEASON GAME ... FOUR-POINT PLAY ... THIS FEELS FAMILIAR: Evans, whose four-point play was pivotal in DU's opening round win over UMass is no stranger to big time four-point plays in pressure situations. As a freshman at Detroit's Rogers High School, Evans pulled off one of the most legendary plays in Michigan state basketball history when he made a steal, hit a 3-pointer and a free throw with two seconds left to give Rogers a 71-68 win over Bellaire in the Class D stat championship game.
SAUNDERS' RECORD REJECTIONS: Damian Saunders' five blocked shots were an A-10 Championship first round record.
NOT "TWO" OFTEN: The win was Duquesne's second in a row over UMass. The Dukes have posted back-to-back wins over the Minutemen just one other time since 1990 (that was in 2004, the second of which came in the first round of the A-10 Championship at Dayton).
A BIG LEAD: Duquesne jumped out to a 31-12 lead on UMass only to see the Minutemen rally to cut the advantage to 42-41 at the half. DU has managed to post double digit leads in 19 of 30 games this season. They are 16-3 when leading by 10 or more at any point in a game this season.
A FRESH BOOST: Freshmen Melquan Bolding and Eric Evans combined for 37 points, including 15 of DU's final 22. Duquesne is 8-0 this season when the freshman class scores a combined 30 or more points.
THE FIRST MEETING WITH RHODE ISLAND: Notes from Rhode Island's 73-71 win at Pittsburgh on March 1 ... there were at total of nine ties and four lead changes in the game ... Duquesne's largest lead was seven and Rhode Island's was six ... Aaron Jackson scored 16 of Duquesne's final 20 points ... his 3-pointer from the top of the key glanced off the front rim at the final horn ... Jackson finished with a game-high 24 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals ... Jason Duty and Bill Clark, who entered the game ranked third and fifth respectively in the A-10 in 3-point shooting percentage, were a combined 1-of-10 from the arc ... Eric Evans, who was 4-of-5 from the arc in DU's previous game (a win at UMass), went 0-of-6 from 3-point ... for the game, the Dukes were 6-of-28 from the arc ... Bill Clark scored all 11 of his points in 14 first half minutes ... he played 12 in the second half before fouling out ... DU's six free throw attempts against the Rams were a season low.
DU AWAY FROM HOME: Duquesne, which has already clinched the school's first winning road record since 1971, is now 9-6 away from the Palumbo Center. DU saw a little bit of everything at opposing venues this season ranging from two of the most intimidating (at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium and at Pitt's Petersen Events Center), to two of the most quaint (DU was the first D-I team to play a non-conference game at USC Upstate's 1,535-seat Hodge Center and the Dukes also took on Radford in the Highlanders' 500-season Peters Hall due to renovation conflicts). The early season treks paid off as the Dukes, who have seven true freshmen on the current roster, surprised everyone by posting the most road wins by a Dukes team since the `71 NCAA Tournament team went 8-2. The `09 Dukes also tied the school record for conference road wins with four.
BIG WINS AWAY FROM HOME: All nine of Duquesne's victories away from the Palumbo Center have come by double-digit margins including double digit A-10 road wins at St. Bonaventure (+18), at Fordham (+21), at La Salle (+11) and at UMass (+17) & a double-digit A-10 Championship win over UMass (+10).
THE RIMS ARE STILL 10 FEET: The Dukes have shot 50.0 percent or better 13 times this season with eight coming either on the road or at neutral sites. DU is 13-0 when making more than half of their shots.
CLOSING IN ON A LEGEND: Aaron Jackson enters the URI game needing four assists to break the school single season record of 178 set by Norm Nixon in 1977. Jackson, who had seven assists last night, enters the Rhode Island game with 175.
JACKSON MOVIN' ON UP: Aaron Jackson (1,321 points, 486 assists and 164 steals in 116 games) enters the Rhode Island game 19th on DU's all-time leading scorers' list. He needs 15 to pass Emmett Sellers (1984-87) and move into the 18th spot, 17 to pass Collins Dobbs (1986-89) for 17th and 19 to pass Jarrett Durham (1969-71) for 16th on the all-time list. Jackson ranks second on DU's all-time assist list and sixth in career steals. Jackson, who has scored in double digits in Duquesne's past 21 games, scored 16 of DU's final 20 points in a 73-71 loss to URI on Mar. 1 and totaled the Dukes' final 11 tallies in DU's next game, a 70-68 come-from-behind win over Saint Louis. Jackson, who has never missed a game in his DU career, will be taking the floor for the 117th time when the Dukes take on URI. It will be the second-most games ever by a Duquesne player trailing only Tony Petrarca's 120 from 1987-91.
NUMBERS: In 89 games under Ron Everhart, the Dukes are 45-25 when scoring 70 or more, including an 19-5 mark this season (two of the five losses have come in overtime) ... on the other hand, when scoring under 70 Everhart's Dukes are 1-18 (0-6 this year) ... Duquesne is 14-5 when leading at the half and 15-1 when leading with 5:00 to go ... the Dukes are 10-3 when outrebounding opponents.