2007-08 Men's Basketball Season Review
April 14, 2008
2007-08 SEASON REVIEW
The Duquesne University men's basketball team continued its turnaround under second-year head coach Ron Everhart by posting the school's first winning season in 14 years with a 17-13 record in 2007-08.
The 17 overall wins were the most since the 1993-94 NIT team finished 17-13 and the 17 regular season wins were the most since the 1980-81 team (20-10) entered the Eastern 8 Tournament with an 18-8 record.
Everhart, who inherited a team coming off the worst record in school history (3-24 in 2005-06), led the Dukes to a 10-19 record last year.
DU opened the season with six consecutive wins, marking the school's best start since 1979-80.
The Dukes' first loss came at NCAA Tournament participant Drake in the title game of the Iowa Realty Invitational. The Dukes trailed by two in the final minute before the Bulldogs, who would go on to post a 28-5 record, pulled out a 77-73 win.
DU dropped its next game at home to then-No. 12 Pittsburgh by five, 73-68.
Close losses became a theme in 2007-08 as the Dukes went 1-9 in games decided by seven or fewer points.
Duquesne went 3-9 against teams that advanced to postseason play, with six of the losses coming by seven or fewer points.
Highlights included a 102-88 win over NCAA participant Saint Joseph's - during which DU set a new series high for points (by either team) in handing the Hawks their worst loss of the season - and wins over NIT teams at Dayton (63-61) and Robert Morris (86-70).
DU, picked 11th in a preseason poll of league coaches and media, finished the regular season in a three-way tie for 9th in the Atlantic 10 with a 7-9 record. The seven league wins were the most since the `94 team finished 8-8.
DUQUESNE LATELY: Duquesne's 17-13 record was its best since the 1993-94 NIT team finished with the same mark ... DU's 17 regular season wins were the most since the 1980-81 team (20-10) entered the Eastern 8 Tournament with an 18-8 record ... DU clinched its first winning season since `94 - and second winning season in 22 years - with its win at Dayton on Feb. 13 ... from that game on, the Dukes went 1-6 ... Duquesne went 1-9 in single digit games, including a 1-5 mark in games decided by three or fewer points ... the Dukes defeated three teams that advanced to postseason play in Saint Joseph's (NCAA), Dayton (NIT) and Robert Morris (NIT) ... DU finished the year ranked among the nation's top 10 in blocks (7.3, 3rd), assists (18.1, 3rd), scoring (82.3, 5th) and steals (9.4, 9th) ... the `08 Dukes set school single-season records for blocks (220), assists (539) & steals (283) ... DU's 82.3 ppg. scoring average was its highest since 1974-75 (also 82.3 ppg.) ... the scoring average tied the fifth-highest in school history.
MAKING STRIDES: Duquesne has improved by a total of 12.5 games in the win-loss column in two seasons under Ron Everhart:
Year W/L RPI IMP. 2005-06 3-24 308 N/A 2006-07 10-19 219 +6.0 2007-08 17-13 130 +6.5
DUQUESNE'S RPI: Duquesne, whose 2007 final RPI improved 89 spots in its first season under Ron Everhart, flirted with double digits for the majority of 2007-08. The Dukes had an RPI of 50 and were at 31in the Sagarin ratings at the end of non-conference play (on Jan. 3). Here is a list of Duquesne's final RPI ratings for the past seven years including DU's RPI this season:
YEAR RPI W-L SOURCE 2001-02 177 9-19 The RPI Report 2002-03 246 10-20 The RPI Report 2003-04 168 12-17 The RPI Report 2004-05 257 8-21 NCAA RPI 2005-06 308 3-24 NCAA RPI 2006-07 219 10-19 NCAA RPI 2007-08 130 17-13 NCAA RPI
TWO-YEAR RPI IMPROVEMENT: Duquesne has improved its final RPI by 178 spots in two seasons under Ron Everhart. Here are the most-improved RPI teams over the past two years:
TEAM 2006 2008 IMP. UMBC 297 88 +209 Illinois St. 235 33 +202 Morgan St. 329 134 +195 Cleveland St. 245 63 +182 DUQUESNE 308 130 +178 Stephen F. Austin 240 64 +176 Cal St. Northridge 283 111 +172 Brown 275 106 +169 Jacksonville 331 164 +167 Drake 176 10 +166
HOME IMPROVEMENT: Duquesne has more than doubled its home win total in each of its first two seasons under Ron Everhart - going from two Palumbo Center wins under Danny Nee in 2005-06 to 11 home wins this season. Here is DU's home record in each of the past three seasons:
YEAR COACH HOME W/L 2005-06 Danny Nee 2-13 2006-07 Ron Everhart 5-9 2007-08 Ron Everhart 11-4
MR. 1,000: Graduate student F/C Kieron Achara became the 31st member of the Duquesne 1,000-point club with a free throw at the 18:52 mark of the second half against Pitt on Dec. 5. Achara finished the year with 1,240 career points (19th all-time), 607 rebounds and 185 blocked shots (2nd all-time). Achara played in 115 games at Duquesne, which tied him for second on DU's all-time list.
MR. MARCH: Senior guard Reggie Jackson played as well as anyone in the Atlantic 10 in the month of March, averaging 20.8 ppg. in eclipsing his career scoring high twice in four games. Jackson opened the month by scoring 15 of his 17 in the second half at Charlotte. He followed that with 18 first half points in scoring a then career-best 25 at Temple. He had 12 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals in a Senior Day win over Saint Louis and ended the year with a new career high of 29 points - including 21 in the second half - in a loss to La Salle in the opening round of the Atlantic 10 Championship. In four March games, Jackson shot .543 from the field (25-of-46), .588 from the 3-point arc (10-of-17), handed out 14 assists and totaled 10 steals. Jackson led the Dukes in scoring in four of the last six games of the season.
JAMES 7th ON ALL-TIME BLOCKED SHOT LIST: Junior F/C Shawn James continued to climb the NCAA Division-I list for career blocks in 2007-08. The 6-10 Brooklyn, N.Y. native ranks seventh on the all-time list with 443 rejections in 83 games. Only one player has a higher three-year blocked shot total than James - Adonal Foyle who sent back 492 shots in 87 games. Foyle ranks second on the all-time list. James, who scored 628 points in two seasons at Northeastern prior to transferring, had 354 this season giving him 982 for his career. James was named to the 10-man 2007-08 NABC All-District 3 team. District 3 is comprised of 28 schools in the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey Delaware and Maryland. The team was selected by member coaches of the NABC.
AJAX A 100-100 MAN: Junior Aaron Jackson, who handed out 110 assists as a sophomore, added 104 this season making him the eighth player in school history to post more than one 100-assist season. The others are Norm Nixon and Clayton Adams (4 seasons), Kenya Hunter, Tony Petrarca and Mike James (3 seasons) and Martin Osimani and Courtney Wallace (2 seasons). Jackson barely missed the 100 assist mark with 97 as a freshman in 2005-06.
SCORING CHAMPS: Duquesne was the highest-scoring Atlantic 10 team in 10 years in leading the conference for the second-straight season with an 82.3 ppg. average. DU's scoring average was the highest by an A-10 team since Xavier averaged 83.5 ppg. in 1997-98. In 2006-07, the Dukes paced the A-10 with an average of 78.3 ppg.
RECORDS SET: DU broke the school record for blocks in a season in its 22nd game (at La Salle). The old mark of 166 was set in 28 games in 1979-80. The Dukes finished the year with 220 rejections in 30 contests. Duquesne also set single-season records for assists (539, old record was 486) and steals with 283 (old record of 261 set in 1992-93 and tied in 1997-98).
CLOSE ONES: Six of the Dukes' 13 losses came by a total of 16 points: 77-73 at MVC champion and NCAA Tournament participant Drake, 80-78 at then-No. 22 (AP) Rhode Island, 75-74 at Fordham, 69-66 vs. Richmond, 75-72 to La Salle and 82-79 to La Salle at the Atlantic 10 Championship. DU also lost by five (73-68) to then-No. 12 (AP) - and full strength - Pitt. The Dukes, who finished 1-9 in single-digit games, were 0-4 before pulling out a 63-61 win at Dayton on Feb. 13.