Duquesne Men Back in Action Saturday
Nov. 22, 2011
GAME 6 / LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE (3-3) at DUQUESNE (3-2)
Duquesne is coming off three games in three days at the 2K Sports Classic Valparaiso Subregional last Friday-Sunday ... the Dukes went 2-1 with neutral-court wins over Division II District of Columbia (97-81) and Akron (81-76) followed by a loss to host Valparaiso (68-84).
Leading scorer Sean Johnson was named to the Valparaiso Subregional All-Tournament team ... he averaged 18.7 ppg. on 50 percent shooting in the three games ... Johnson has scored in double digits in all five games this season.
T.J. McConnell, who posted the second triple-double in school history with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the win over UDC, leads the Dukes in rebounding (5.0 rpg.), assists (6.0 apg.) and steals (3.0 spg.) ... McConnell, who finished fourth nationally in steals per game last season, has two 5-steal games already in 2011-12 ... the 2011 A-10 Rookie of the Year set a DU single-season and A-10 freshman record with 91 steals last year ... he has 106 for his career.
Junior guard Sean Johnson, who came off the bench in 59 of 62 games prior to this season, has scored in double digits in all five games as a starter. The New York City native has scored in double digits in 11 of his past 13 games dating back to last season (15.1 ppg. over that span).
Duquesne is being outrebounded by an average of 10.4 per game, by the same token, the Dukes are +8.6 in turnover margin ... DU has struggled from the 3-point arc at .280 (28-of-100) ... the Dukes, who led the nation is assists, steals and turnover margin last season are averaging 16.0 assists and 8.8 steals through five games.
Seven players have scored in double digits in DU's first five games.
Duquesne tied the school record with 17 steals in its 97-81 win over the University of the District of Columbia on Nov. 18. It was the sixth time - and fourth time in the past two seasons - a DU team has posted 17 steals in a game.
T.J. McConnell, the Atlantic 10 leader in steals last season, was named to the conference's preseason All-Defensive Team as well at preseason Third Team All-A10. McConnell, who finished fourth nationally in steals per game (2.8) on his way to setting an Atlantic 10 freshman and DU single-season record (91), was just the third player in the 15-year history of the A-10 All-Defensive Team not to earn a spot on the squad despite leading the conference in steals. The others are former Duke Damian Saunders (2009) and Charlotte's Leemire Goldwire (2008). McConnell has 15 steals through five games.
The Dukes, who finished tied for fourth in the Atlantic 10 last season with a 10-6 record. Were picked to finish ninth in a preseason poll of league coaches. Duquesne has exceeded its predicted Atlantic 10 finish in four of five seasons under Ron Everhart.
NOTING UL: Louisiana is a member of the Sun Belt Conference (West) ... this will be the first meeting between the Dukes and Ragin Cajuns ... it is the first game of a home-and-home series ... Louisiana finished the 2011 season as one of the hottest teams in the nation, winning 11 in a row before bowing to Western Kentucky in the Sun Belt Championship quarterfinals to finish 14-15 ... the 11-game win streak, which tied the second-longest in school history, followed a 3-14 start ... ULL returns three starters including 6-5, 225-pound Second Team All-Sun Belt forward J.J. Thomas ... the bearded Louisiana native led the team in scoring (11.6 ppg.) on his way to being named Louisiana Freshman of the Year by the Bayou State's sportswriters ... head coach Bob Marlin, who is entering his second season, was cited as one of nation's most underappreciated Division I basketball coaches by ESPN's Jay Bilas this summer.
LOUISIANA LATELY: The Ragin Cajuns, like Duquesne are coming off a three games in three days tournament ... UL went 2-1 in the Beryl Shipley Challenge which it hosted Nov. 18-20 ... Louisiana defeated Houston Baptist (73-64), lost to Cal State Fullerton (63-69) and defeated Nicholls State (84-57) in its three games ... 6-5, 220-pound Louisiana native J.J. Thomas and 6-9, 250-pound Bahamian Kadeem Coleby are averaging a team-best 10.8 and 10.3 ppg. respectively ... Coleby has 14 blocks on the young season ...Coleby has struggled from the foul line where he is 12-of-26 (46.2%) ... 10 players are averaging double-digit minutes with Thomas logging the most at 24.7/g. ... four players have led the balanced Cajuns in scoring in six games ... UL has 79 assists and 94 turnovers ... opponents have turned it over 99 times ... this will be Louisiana-Lafayette's second true road game of the season ... UL dropped a 71-70 decision to host San Francisco at the San Francisco Hilltop Challenge on Nov. 13 ... UL will be returning to the Steel City on Dec. 17 to face Robert Morris.
IN THE BURGH FOR FIVE: The Dukes will be able to sleep in their own beds for the next three weeks, as their next five games will all be played in the Steel City. Following tonight's game, DU will meet cross-town rival Pitt at CONSOL Energy Center (Nov. 30) before returning to Palumbo Center to face Tennessee Tech (Dec. 3) and Robert Morris (Dec. 6). The Dukes will conclude their homestand against Penn State at CONSOL Energy Center on Dec. 10. Duquesne will not hit the road again until its Dec. 17 game at Western Michigan.