PREVIEW: Dayton at @DuqMBB
Dec. 27, 2017
Duquesne (9-4) opens Atlantic 10 Conference play against Dayton (6-6) on Saturday, Dec. 30 at 4:00 p.m. at the Palumbo Center. The game will be televised regionally by AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh (Dave Armstrong & Ben Braun on the call). The Dukes, who saw a seven-game win streak (the school’s longest since 2010-11) snapped in a 74-64 loss to Southern Illinois at the Las Vegas Classic on Dec. 23, are already one win shy of last year’s win total (10-22).
• This is just the sixth time in school history that Duquesne is entering conference play with nine wins (2016 last).
• DU has three wins when shooting under 40% this season. To put that in perspective, Duquesne won just three times in the previous five seasons (45 games) when shooting under 40%.
• The Dukes are 8-1 when holding opponents under 70 points.
• The Dukes, who averaged 14.2 turnovers per game last season, have cut their turnovers to 11.1/g. through 13 games.
• Eric Williams Jr. was the first DU freshman since Bruce Atkins to post five double-doubles in his first nine college games. Atkins, a member of DU’s All-Century Team and the only Duquesne two-time first team All-A-10 player, finished with 11 double-doubles as a freshman in 1978-79.
• The 6-5 Williams Jr., who has been named A-10 Rookie of the Week twice this season, ranks fourth among D-I freshmen - and the only one under 6-11 - in rebounds per game (9.9) through Christmas. The three ahead of him, Deandre Ayton of Arizona, Marvin Bagley of Duke and Brandon McCoy of UNLV were ESPN.com 5-star recruits.
• Rene Castro-Caneddy, posted his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 assists vs. Delaware State, has 34 assists and 11 turnovers in his past eight games.
• Duquesne is 7-2 since grad transfer Chas Brown made his debut on Dec. 1 vs. Pitt. Brown, who was Coppin State’s MVP last season, missed the first four games with a foot injury. The 6-8, 235-pounder is currently averaging 4.0 points and 5.2 rebounds in 16 min/g.
• Tarin Smith is 16-of-35 (.457) from the 3-point arc in his past eight games. The 16 3-point makes are five more than his total in 32 g. last season (11-of-52).
• Mike Lewis II is 30-of-60 (.500) from the 3-point arc in DU’s past eight games.
• This is the 76th meeting in a series that dates to Jan. 5, 1953. Dayton leads the series 52-23, including a 30-9 lead in Atlantic 10 regular season games. In games at Pittsburgh, UD leads 20-14.
• Duquesne, which lost 16 in a row to Dayton from 1997 through 2004, is 8-14 against the Flyers in the past 22 games.
• Dayton has won the past four. Duquesne’s last series win was on Feb. 21, 2015 at PPG Paints Arena (83-73). DU is 3-4 at home against the Flyers in the past seven meetings in Pittsburgh. Of the last seven meetings in the Steel City, four have been at PPG Paints Arena (2-2) and three have been at Palumbo Center (1-2).
• Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot is 0-4 vs. Dayton, with all four meetings coming when the first-year DU coach was at Akron. Three of the four games were single-digit affairs including an 83-81 double overtime loss to the No. 20 (AP) Flyers at UD Arena on Jan. 2, 2008 and a 54-50 home loss on Dec. 6, 2008. This is just the second time Dambrot will be facing Dayton on his home court.
• Dayton (5-6), the preseason pick to finish 5th in the A-10, is coming off a 79-67 win over Wagner on Dec. 23. Josh Cunningham led the Flyers with 19 points.
• The Flyers, in their first season under head coach Anthony Grant, are 0-2 on the road with losses at Mississippi State (59-61) and at St. Mary’s (54-69).
NOTING THE DUKES
• Duquesne is in its first season under head coach Keith Dambrot. Dambrot came to the Bluff after 13 highly-successful seasons at Akron, where he led the Zips to a 305-139 record (23.5 wins per season) including 10 postseason appearances (3 NCAA, 5 NIT, 1 CBI & 1 CIT). Dambrot’s 9-4 start is the best by a DU first-year coach since Mike Rice also went 9-4 in his first 13 games in 1978-79.
• The 2017-18 Dukes are limiting opponents to 63.8 points per game. It is the lowest opponent scoring average since 1962 (61.1). Only four opposing teams have topped 70 points against Duquesne this season. The 63.8 ppg. average is a +13.6 ppg. improvement over last season (77.4 ppg.).
• Duquesne limited Stetson - which came into the game averaging 78.8 ppg. - to 59 points and held Delaware State to 48 in a 49-point win. DU defeated Mississippi Valley State, 73-49 on Dec. 13, marking the first time since December of 1968 (57-42 vs. Pitt and 72-48 at Catholic) that a DU team has held back-to-back opponents under 50 points.
• Duquesne had its full roster for the first time this season on Dec. 9 vs. Delaware State. JC transfer Marko Krivacevic missed seven games with a broken bone in his wrist. Grad transfer Chas Brown missed the first four games with a foot injury 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. (14.2, 10.4) leads the Dukes with a 9.9 rpg. average - the highest rpg. average by a Duke since Damian Saunders averaged 11.3 rpg. in 2010. The versatile swingman, who has five double-doubles, is second on the team with 23 3-pointers and has thrown down a team-high 12 dunks. Through Christmas, Williams Jr. ranked fourth among Division I freshmen in rebounds per game. 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, who added five more blocks vs. Mississippi Valley State, ranks seventh among the nation’s top freshman shot blockers at 2.23 bpg.