Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Dukes 4-0 for the first time since 1986-87

Shawn James with one of his many blocks this season

Duquesne handled their toughest competition of the season last night with a 15 point victory over Oakland. Last season Oakland had a school record 19 wins, and this year's squad returned 3 starters from that team. Oakland's coach Greg Kampe was impressed, "That's the best team to play in this building in 10 years except for Michigan State's Final Four team [in 1998]."

Some stats:
Kojo Mensa was the Dukes leading scorer with 20 points; he was 5-6 from the free throw line.

Mensa shared the lead in boards with super frosh Damian Saunders, both players had 13 rebounds. Saunders is an example of just the kind of luck the Dukes program hasn't had in a long time. Saunders had committed to Marquette, however he had his scholarship pulled when one of Marquette's players decided to return to the team rather than go to the NBA. Marquette officially claims he didn't qualify academically. Saunders had a relationship with new assistant coach Bill Barton, and Barton helped bring him into the Dukes program. Saunders is an athletic 6-7 forward who can do it all, rebound, score; shoot the 3, not to mention play the kind of tough D Coach Everhart loves.

Saunders isn't the only freshman who has been a big addition to the Dukes, Bill Clark has been playing a significant role for the Dukes and he turned it up a notch last night scoring 16 points and grabbing 8 boards. Clark has a solid 3 point shot, {he loves to shoot from the corners}, and he plays tough D.

While Shawn James only scored 1 point last night he set a school record with 12 blocked shots {the old record was 7 set by Derek Alston}. James' 12 blocks are an Atlantic Ten Conference record as well, breaking the previous record of 11 that was set 4 times, 3 of those 4 by Stephane Lasme of Massachusetts. The Dukes also set a team record with 15 total blocked shots in last night's game. Shawn James transferred from Northeastern 2 years ago, and sat out last season per NCAA rules. James played for Coach Everhart at Northeastern and set an NCAA record with 6.53 blocks per game in 2005-06. James was send in the country in blocked shots as a freshman. James is a legit 6-10 and will be a defensive presence in the middle for the Dukes. James can score too, his career high is 26 as a sophomore at Northeastern, and he is averaging 13.3 points per game this season wiht Duquesne while shooting 59.9% from the floor.

Senior Gary Tucker also scored 18 points last night. Tucker who was originally a JC transfer to Duquesne was playing in front of his grandparents last night who are from Flint Michigan; it was the first time they saw him play. If there is one thing you need to know about Tucker it is that he can jump, watch for him to slam a big alleyoop sometime this season.

The Dukes are home against Niagara on Saturday, tip is scheduled for 2pm. My father and I will be in attendance to cheer on our beloved Dukes.

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