#DuqMBB Return to Palumbo to Face Robert Morris on Saturday
Dec. 13, 2013
GAME 8 - Robert Morris (3-7) at Duquesne (3-4)
Radio: WPGB-FM 104.7 Ray Goss (`58) (pxp), Jarrett Durham (`71) (analyst)
THE SERIES VS. ROBERT MORRIS
PENN STATE LEFTOVERS
IN NON-CONFERENCE PLAY
Duquesne is in its second season under head coach Jim Ferry. Ferry, who came to DU after leading LIU Brooklyn to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances (2011 & 2012), is the 16th coach in school history. This is the 98th season for Duquesne basketball.
Only three scholarship players are back from last year's 8-22 team: returning starters Derrick Colter and Jeremiah Jones along with senior Jerry Jones. DU also has three first-year players with Division I experience in senior Ovie Soko (88 games for UAB from 2010-12), JC transfer Dominique McKoy (30 games at Rhode Island in 2012) and sophomore Micah Mason (30 games at Drake last year). The 12 scholarship players on the 2013-14 roster brought a combined total of 10 seasons of Division I experience into the season.
10 of the 14 players on the current active roster are freshmen or sophomores.
Five of the Dukes' top seven scorers are first year players: UAB transfer Ovie Soko (16.4 ppg.), JC transfer Tra'Vaughn White (13.9), JC transfer Dominique McKoy (10.4), first-year Drake transfer Micah Mason (8.8) and freshman Desmond Ridenour (5.7). Mason is currently out with a broken bone in his hand (suffered Nov. 20 vs. Albany).
Six players have scored 10 or more and three have reached the 20-point mark (Derrick Colter & Tra'Vaughn White twice each and Ovie Soko once) for the Dukes who are averaging 78.3 ppg. DU has had at least four double-digit scorers in four of seven games.
The Dukes, who had nine scholarship players in uniform vs. Pitt and UMBC, received a boost with the debut of freshman forward Isaiah Watkins against Penn State. The 6-7, 220-pound Canadian, who underwent leg surgery on January 31 in his hometown of Toronto, had additional arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Oct. 3. He was cleared to practice on Monday, Dec. 2. Sophomore guard Micah Mason (8.8, 2.8), DU's top 3-point shooter, is out with a broken hand suffered on Nov. 20 vs. Albany. A second Canadian, freshman forward, 6-8, 255-pound Jordan Robinson, has not been certified as eligible by the NCAA and has yet to practice.
Senior Ovie Soko (16.4, 9.9) has posted three double-doubles in seven games. The UAB transfer, who scored in double digits 28 times - all in his final 60 games - with the Blazers, totaled 14 or more points in his five games as a Duke, before being limited to 6 n the win over UMBC. He bounced back with 19 points in 22 minutes vs. Penn State. The last Duquesne player to average a double-double for an season was Damian Saunders in 2009-10 (15.0, 11.3). Prior to Saunders, you have to go all the way back to 1981-82 (Bruce Atkins 16.1, 10.4) to find a double-double Duke.
First-year Drake transfer Micah Mason, the top 3-point shooter in the Missouri Valley Conference last season (40-of-79, .506), was granted a waiver by the NCAA on Nov. 8 - the day before the season opener against Abilene Christian. Mason, a sophomore, hit a 3-pointer on his first touch in a Dukes uniform, 28 seconds after entering the ACU game. The western Pa. native had his breakout game with 18 points on 5-of-7 3-point shooting at WVU, before breaking a bone in his right hand in the first half of DU's 70-59 win over Albany three day's later. Mason, who is 9-of-17 from the arc with two turnovers in 96 total minutes, is out indefinitely.
Sophomore guard Derrick Colter, who became just the fifth player - and first underclassman - to lead the Dukes in scoring and assists when he averaged 13.4 ppg. and 5.3 apg. last season, scored a team-high 23 in the opener against Abilene Christian and added 20 points, 7 assists and a career high-tying 4 steals vs. UMBC. Colter has reached the 20-point mark six times in his young career. Colter (11.7 ppg.) leads the team with 24 assists and 13 3-pointers (.419).
First-year JC transfer F Dominique McKoy, who is shooting .692, ranks second to Soko with a 7.9 rpg. average. McKoy, who has had at least six rebounds in every game, has scored in double digits five times. He posted his first career double-double (12-10) vs. Penn State.
First-year transfer guard Tra'Vaughn White, who led the nation's JC's in scoring last year at 25.9 ppg., has picked up where he left off with double-digit points in five of seven games at Duquesne. White has converted a team-high six traditional three-point plays on the young season.
Freshman guard Desmond Ridenour scored all of his career-high nine points in 14 first-half minutes against Pitt. The Ohio native tied for the team lead with three assists with just one turnover in 29 total minutes. Ridenour is averaging just under 20 minutes per game off the bench.
Four players posted 40-plus inch running vertical jumps in July testing. The four highest-leaping Dukes are: Jeremiah Jones (42.5"), Derrick Colter (42.5"), Ovie Soko (40.5") and Desmond Ridenour (40.5").
The Dukes are facing teams from the ACC (L, Pitt), Big 12 (L, West Virginia) and Big Ten (L, Penn State) as well as additional traditional rivals Robert Morris and Saint Francis, Pa. in non-conference play.
DU will play George Mason (2013 CBI finalist), La Salle (2013 NCAA Sweet 16), Saint Louis (2013 NCAA Third Round) and St. Bonaventure twice in Atlantic 10 play. Mason, La Salle and SLU all won at least 22 games last season. Duquesne and George Washington are the only schools who will face two of the Atlantic 10's three returning 2013 NCAA tournament participants home-and-home. DU, GW and St. Bonaventure are the only schools with three 2013 post-season participants in their four-team pod.