Saturday, November 24, 2007

Duquesne defeats Niagara 76-65

#33 Kojo Mensah and #2 Kieron Achara

Duquesne is now 5-0 for the first time since the 1985-86 season after defeating the Purple Eagles from Niagara who were an NCAA Tournament team last year. The Dukes played sloppy basketball in the first half, failing to take advantage of their massive height advantage. Niagara's Charron Fisher made the Dukes pay in the first half scoring from behind the arch and in the lane with his powerful 6-4 frame. Fisher ended the game with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

Charron Fisher was 7-9 from the charity stripe against the Dukes.

Duquesne may have played poorly but they went into the half trailing by only 4. Duquesne's head coach Ron Everhart made a surprising decision when he abandoned the two platoon substitution system in the second half, electing to leave his key players on the floor for most of the second half. This decision proved to be successful, the extra playing time helped Kojo Mensah and Shawn James find their game. Mensa lead the Dukes with 17 points. Shawn James who looked lost in the first half ended the game with 10 points, 13 rebounds and 7 blocked shots. James was a constant force around the hoop in the second half on the defensive end of the floor.

Coach Everhart looked a lot happier after his Dukes had secured the victory.

With Shawn James and Kojo leading the way the Dukes battled back from their halftime deficit, and exchanged several lead changes with Niagara before pulling away in the final minute of the game. The game was a lot closer than the 11 margin of victory would indicate.

Statistics don't always tell the entire story, several Dukes who failed to score a lot of points played significant parts in the Duquesne victory. Senior Gary Tucker played solid defense and had several key steals down the stretch run to help Duquesne pull away. Aaron Jackson also played tenacious defense, {his specialty}, in the 2nd half.

Duquesne was horrible at the free throw line shooting only 65.6%. Philip Fayne (4-4) and Kieron Achara (6-7) were the only Dukes who seemed to know how to shoot free throws this afternoon. Poor free throwing shooting could haunt the Dukes in close games this season.

Kieron was 6-7 from the free throw line against Niagara.

This was a tough win for the Dukes, and the first time they have really been challenged this season. I'll be honest I was not happy when Coach Everhart dumped the two platoon system. In my mind the beauty of the two platoon system is that it forces the other team to either play their main players most of the game at a very fast pace and leave them extremely tired in the 2nd half, or to use players from the bench who are less skilled or less experienced. But Coach Everhart proved why he is the coach and I am a lowly blogger by dumping the system for today's game and winning anyway.

Tucker, Saunders, Achara, R. Jackson, and A. Jackson all wait to enter the game in the 1st half.

Late in the game Kieron Achara and Shawn James were put on the floor at the same time. Having the "Twin Towers" on the floor bode well for the Dukes as they pulled away for the victory as James and Achara scored, rebounded, and passed crisply inside during the final minutes to help seal the victory for Duquesne.

The Twin Towers - #2 Kieron Achara and #21 Shawn James.

Duquesne travels to the Iowa Realty Drake Tournament this week to play Cal State Northridge on Friday at 6pm.

1 comment:

CapitolMAN said...

80 percent of Dukes Court readers think Duquesne could beat Pitt.

Not coincidentally, 80 percent of Dukes Court readers are insane enough to think Ron Paul could be the GOP nominee.