PREVIEW: Delaware State at @DuqMBB
Dec. 7, 2017
Duquesne (4-3), winner of two in a row, hosts Delaware State (2-8) at the Palumbo Center on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 12:30 p.m. (Atlantic 10 Network). The Dukes, who are completing a stretch of four games in nine days, are taking on a DSU team that is looking for its first road win (the Hornets are 0-6 away from home). Duquesne is in the middle of final exams which run from Dec. 7-13. Saturday’s men’s game will be followed by the DU women vs. Akron.
Duquesne has led for 76:35 of a possible 80 minutes in its past two games. The Dukes are a combined 25-of-53 (.471) from the 3-point arc over that span (14-of-29 vs. Maryland Eastern Shore and 11-of-24 vs. Stetson). Duquesne limited Stetson to a 2017-18 opponent low 59 points in Wednesday’s win. Stetson entered the game averaging 78.8 ppg.
• Sophomore G Mike Lewis II, who tied his career high with six 3-pointers (6-of-7) in scoring 29 points vs. Maryland Eastern Shore on Monday, followed that by going 4-of-7 from the arc (17 pts.) vs. Stetson. Lewis II has scored 20 or more in 10 of his past 18 games dating back to last year.
• Eric Williams Jr. posted his fourth double-double with 11 points and a DU freshman record 16 rebounds vs. Stetson. Williams Jr., who has had at least eight rebounds in every game this season, is the first player since Bruce Atkins to post four double-doubles in his first seven games. Atkins, a member of DU’s All-Century Team and the only Duquesne two-time first team All-A-10 player, had five double-doubles in his first nine games as a Duke in 1978-79 (Atkins had 11 for the season).
• Tarin Smith, who hit a career-high four 3-pointers vs. Stetson, is 7-of-11 from the arc in his past two games. Smith had 11 3-pointers in 32 games last season.
• Rene Castro-Caneddy, who had never played more than 30 minutes in a game entering the season, is averaging 13.3 points in 31.4minutes/g. Castro-Caneddy, who entered the season averaging 5.4 points in an average of 14.8 minutes per game in 46 games at Duquesne, handed out a career high eight assists in Wednesday’s win over Stetson.
• DU has made 12 more free throws than their opponents have attempted (Duquesne is 124-181 from the line, opponents are 68-112).
• DU’s 79 turnovers are tied for seventh-fewest in the nation (through Wednesday’s games). The Dukes have three single-digit turnover games this season.
NOTING THE DUKES
• Duquesne has yet to have its full roster for a game this season. JC transfer Marko Krivacevic (wrist) has yet to play. Grad transfer Chas Brown (foot) missed the first four games and senior forward Eric James (knee) missed the Cornell game. Sophomore forward Kellon Taylor, who spent the fall as a receiver for DU’s FCS football team, joined the team just prior to Thanksgiving (he was not in uniform for the first two games).
• Duquesne has received considerable contributions from a pair of freshmen. Six-five swingman Eric Williams Jr. (16.0,10.6) leads the Dukes with a 10.6 rpg. average. The versatile swingman, who has four double-doubles on the young season, is second on the team with 14 3-pointers and has thrown down a team-high nine dunks. Through Wednesday, Williams Jr. was one of six D-I freshmen averaging a double-double. Six-nine forward Tydus Verhoeven had the best game of his young career with 12 points, nine rebounds a freshman record-tying seven blocks and three assists vs. Robert Morris on Nov. 19. The 6-8 Verhoeven ranks sixth among the nation’s top freshman shot blockers with 17 rejections (2.57 bpg.).
• This is the second meeting between the Dukes and Hornets. DU took the first game of the series by a score of 72-57 at the Palumbo Center on Dec. 30, 1999.
• Delaware State, which competes in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, is located in Dover, Del.
• This is Duquesne’s second of three games against MEAC opponents this season. DU defeated Maryland Eastern Shore (86-61) on Dec. 4 and will take on North Carolina A&T in a Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic game at Palumbo Center on Dec. 17. Duquesne is 14-3 all-time (13-2 at home) against the schools that comprise the current MEAC.
• Delaware State comes to Pittsburgh looking for its first road win. The Hornets, who are coming off an 81-60 home loss to UMBC on Wednesday, are 0-6 on the road. The Hornets dropped a 63-57 decision at East Carolina on Dec. 2 in their last road game.
• DSU is led in scoring and rebounding by 6-10, 260-poind senior forward Simon Okolue (10.4, 6.7). Okolue posted a 12-12 double-double in the Hornets’ 81-60 home loss to UMBC on Wednesday. Six-three senior guard Jonathan Walker led DSU with 17 points vs. the Retreivers. Delaware State, which led 40-35 at the half, shot just 29.2 percent over the final 20 minutes (.418 for the game).
• Delaware State won five of its final eight games to finish 10-21 last season. DSU was one of 17 teams (and one of five with a losing record) with more Division I road wins (6) than home wins (4) last season
• DSU is in its fourth full season under head coach Keith Walker (he served as interim head coach for 11 games in 2013-14). Walker, who led the Hornets to the 2015 CBI with an 18-18 record, was part of the coaching staff at Indiana, Pa. from 1987-93. The Crimson Hawks reached the No. 1 spot in the NCAA Division II during parts of three seasons while Walker was on the staff.