Saturday, February 16, 2008

Looking Ahead?

Richmond's Chris Mooney is one heck of a coach

Were the Dukes looking ahead to the big game against Xavier next week? It sure looked like they were.

My post game observations:
  • Richmond slowed the game down and controlled the tempo.

  • Duquesne had the superior athletes, but Richmond had the better coached basketball team tonight. My hat is off to Richmond head coach Chris Mooney he has done a great job of coaching a young team, his players made smart decisions and rarely made mental mistakes. Richmond is the kind of team you see during warm ups and you say to yourself "Duquesne is going to run away with this game" but Richmond overcame their lack of strength by playing smart team basketball. The Spiders are going to be a very tough team the next few seasons as their players mature and continue to gel.

  • Richmond did not have a post player who could match up with Shawn James or Kieron Achara, but the Spiders were able to stifle the Dukes' big men all night be playing aggressive defense before Achara or James could get their hands on the ball.

  • Richmond made their shots tonight, that was the difference. The Spiders were 11-16 from 3 point land for a crazy 68% percentage. David Gonzalez, (who went to Notre Dame Prep) was 5-6 from beyond the arch. Every time the Dukes got back into the game in the 2nd half the Spiders would nail a clutch 3. Richmond shot 51% from the field.

  • In the 1st half Bill Clark was invisible but he came alive in the 2nd half, hitting a clutch 3 with 6 seconds left to cut the Richmond lead to 1.

I said it earlier this week, "Do not overlook Richmond. Do not overlook Richmond. Do not overlook Richmond." Well the Dukes clearly were not prepared for Richmond tonight. I honestly feel like Ron Everhart was out coached by Chris Mooney. Shawn James fought hard all night to get open in the post and his teammates simply refused to make a quality entry pass to him on the block.

I'll leave you with this quote:

"Getting behind against Richmond was the worst possible scenario on a basketball court. You get behind on a team like them and it's an uphill battle all the way with the treadmill on level 10 in terms of the incline. It was very difficult to come back against them."

Louisville Coach Rick Pitino

Friday, February 15, 2008

Richmond Preview

Repeat after me: Do not overlook Richmond. Do not overlook Richmond. Do not overlook Richmond.

The Spiders are a tough team and if the Dukes take it easy on Saturday night they will have a repeat of their trips to Olean and the Bronx, (loses to St. Bonaventure and Fordham.) Richmond has won 8 of their last 12 games with big wins over Dayton, Virginia Tech, and Charlotte. The Spiders are very young: 81 percent of their scoring comes from freshmen and sophomores and they have just three scholarship players in their junior and senior years. Richmond's top five scorers are freshmen or sophomores.

Richmond is 12-10 overall, 5-4 in the A10, and 4-5 on the road this year. Richmond's leading scorer is 6'9 235 pound sophomore forward Dan Geriot. Geriot averages 14ppg and 5.3rpg. It is no secret that the Dukes have struggled with tough big men this year, specifically Fordham's Bryant Dunston and Rhode Island's Will Daniels. I am not sure if Geriot is quite at the level of Dunston and Daniels yet, but needless to say he represents another talented A10 post player.

Geriot is from Springfield, PA just outside of Philly.

I have read that the Spiders like to play a zone defense which is something that the Dukes have struggled playing against this year. UMass switched zones throughout the game against Duquesne and the Dukes could never adjust. I can only assume Coach Everhart has been working with the Dukes on playing against the zone.

If you thought that Kieron Achara was the longest tenured player in the A10 you would be wrong. Kieron started his career at Duquesne back in 2003-04, the same year that Gaston Moliva started at Richmond. The 6'7 240 pound Moliva missed last season with an injury and received a medical hardship waiver to play this year. Moliva has started every game but one this year but doesn't contribute much on the offensive side of the floor, he is averaging 4ppg for the season.

I will be at the game on Saturday in my normal seat in Section A3. Anyone who wants to join me at Shale's for a pre-game adult beverage is more than happy to stop by. As always I'll be wearing my throwback Norm Nixon jersey.

Saturday night is "Hat Night" at the Palumbo Center.

Running into a couple Dukes

I ran into Reggie Jackson and Phillip Fayne at the South Side Dairy Queen last night. My finance and I had tickets to see The 13th of Paris at The City Theater so we decided to get some Blizzards as a Valentine's day treat. We walked in the side door and I saw Reggie Jackson in his Duquesne warm-up suit standing by the door on the phone. I immediately said hello and told Reggie that I was a big fan and congratulated him on the Dayton upset. Reggie seemed shocked that someone recognized him; he smiled and thanked me for my kind words. At that point I left Reggie alone to do his own thing and my fiancé and I ordered and sat down.

5 minutes later Phillip Fayne walks in the door. I am a big Phillip Fayne fan, the guy is freaking "Charlie Hustle" after all. Reggie and Phillip sat down together and ate a nutritious Brazier DQ meal. When we got up to leave I walked over and wished Reggie and Phillip good luck against Richmond on Saturday. They immediately asked me if I would be at the game. I responded, "Of course. I'll be the guy screaming at the refs." They both chuckled and we said goodbye.


I found this preseason Richmond preview on the Duquesne forum.

Richmond fans don't like their chances against the Dukes, here is a link to their message board on

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Day After

Here are our new rankings after the Dayton upset:

RPI: #77
Kenpom/Pomeroy: #68
Sagarin: #51

The Dukes are now 16-7 and have locked up a winning season for the first time since 1994-94. Duquesne plays Richmond at home on Saturday night at the Palumbo Center. I'll be there, and I am planning on being at Shale's pre and postgame for some adults beverages, I am inviting all Duquesne's fans to come out to celebrate the Dayton upset.

PG Game Wrapup
Trib Wrapup

From the Trib article:

"Everhart met Aaron Jackson in a hallway moments after the victory, and the two embraced as Jackson congratulated his coach for his 200th win.
'I should be congratulating you,' Everhart said, looking Jackson in the eyes. 'That was good.'"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Duquesne upsets Dayton 63-61

Aaron "Action" Jackson was a beast tonight for the Dukes

  • The win guarantees a winning season for Duquesne moving their record to 16-7.
  • The win over Dayton is Ron Everhart's 200th career victory
The Dukes played poorly in the 1st half but they hung around and only trailed by 5 at the break. In the 2nd half Dayton's mistakes started to catch up with them. Dayton ended the game shooting 6-17 from the free throw line (35%) and they turned the ball over 17 times. The Dukes played smart basketball and took advantage of Dayton's mistakes to claw back and hold onto a big win. Dayton only scored 22 points in the 2nd half.

The Dukes ended the game with 21 assists and only 7 turnovers. The Dukes scored 19 points off of Dayton turnovers. Aaron Jackson was by far the star of the game for Duquesne, in his 38 minutes of playing time tonight Aaron had 17 points, 6 rebounds, 4 offensive rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and 0 turnovers. Shawn James hit back to back 3's at the end of the game to help give the Dukes a late game 5 point lead. James 2nd 3 was the biggest shot of the season for Duquesne.

Kojo Mensah may not have had a big scoring night but he played very smart, he ended the game with 8 points, 7 assists, and 0 turnovers. Kojo's intelligent play was a key tonight. Kieron Achara played well again tonight ending the game with 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 0 turnovers.

Ron Everhart has said that the Dukes played "poorly" twice during the post game interview. Come on Ron, enjoy the win!

Dayton's RPI coming into tonight's game was 15th, the Dukes were 93rd. I can't wait to see the Dukes RPI tomorrow.

Duquesne hosts Richmond on Saturday night at the AJ Palumbo Center. I will be at the game and plan on having pregame and postgame adult beverages at Shale's. I invite any Duquesne fans to join me for a drink, I'll be the guy in the Norm Nixon throwback jersey.

Duquesne at Dayton Live Blog

Dukes down 5-0 to start the game

11-6 Dayton - Dukes look flat to start the game

14-6 Dayton - Dayton on a 7-0 run

James and Mensah finally check into the game at the 16 minute mark

18-6 Dayton -11-0 Dayton run

18-9 Dayton - James hits a 3 to end the Duquesne run of cold shooting
The Dukes are 3-12 from the floor to start the game

22-19 Dayton
Dayton is using a lot of players early in this game.
Achara has 2 fouls

27-22 Dayton - 6 minutes left 1st half
The Dukes have held Brian Roberts to 2 points thus far
Aaron Jackson has 8 points thus far
Dayton is passing the ball extremely well thus far

31-27 Dayton - Mensah is playing very well thus far.

35-30 Dayton - 2:45 left in the 1st half
Brian Roberts has 7 points for Dayton
Bill Clark has 3 fouls, he is off tonight.

39-34 Dayton - HALF TIME SCORE

Some half time stats:
Brian Roberts has 10 points, 3 assists, 1 turnover and 2 fouls

Aaron Jackson leads all Dukes with 10 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 0 turnovers
Gary Tucker has 7 points, 2 assists and 2 steals

Duquesne is shooting:
39 FG%
4-5 for 80FT%
4-15 for 26% 3P%

Dayton is shooting
66 FG%
4-9 for 44FT%
3-4 for 75% 3P%

At one point the Dukes trailed Dayton 18-6 in the first half.

The Dukes have played poorly thus far and are only down 5 points at the half. If the Dukes can get their act together they can steal this game.

The Pens trail Boston 2-0 in the 1st period.


42-40 Dayton - Dukes look great to start the 2nd half

42-42 - TIE GAME!! - 15:27 left 2nd half
Achara looks great in the 2nd half

Pens 0 -Bruins 2 - 1st intermission

45-42 Dayton - 15 points for Brian Roberts, but now he has 3 fouls

46-45 Duquesne leads for the first time tonight!!
Dayton is 5-13 from the FT line

47-46 Dayton

51-48 Dayton - Roberts is getting hot he now has 17 points
Sandoval and Roberts have 3 fouls for Dayton

52-51 Duquesne - this game is back and forth right now, very exciting 2nd half
14 Dayton turnovers vs. only 6 for Duquesne

55-53 Duquesne - Aaron Jackson with 17 points
Duquesne is now using a full court press

55-53 Duquesne - 5:16 left 2nd half
Bill Clark now has 4 fouls, he looks lost tonight

57-55 Duquesne - 4 minutes left
Dayton is 5-15 from the FT line

60-55 Duquesne - 2 minutes left James with a HUGE 3

60-58 Duquesne Roberts answers with a huge 3

63-58 Duquesne - James with ANOTHER 3!!! 1:34 left in the 2nd half - Dayton possession timeout on the floor

63-59 Duquesne - 1:17 to go
Dayton is 6-17 from the FT line

63-59 Duquesne leads - 25 seconds left - Dayton possession

63 - 61 Duquesne leads - Duquesne possession - 21.4 seconds left
Dukes can't imbound the ball - timeout Duquesne
Dukes call ANOTHER timeout, they still can't imbound the ball

TURNOVER Duquesne - Dayton possession

17.4 seconds left - Dukes lead by 2

Binnie misses a 3!!

DUQUESNE WINS 63-61!!!!!!!!

Game Day Notes

  • Kojo Mensah had a tooth knocked out during practice on Monday but will play tonight against Dayton.
  • Duquesne's 15-7 start is its best since the 1980-81 NIT team opened with the same record.
  • With a victory, Duquesne can secure its first winning season in 14 years and give coach Ron Everhart his 200th career win.
  • The Dukes showcase one of the most dynamic offenses in NCAA Division I, ranking first in the A-10 in scoring (85.9 ppg.), offensive rebounding (14.9 rpg.), assists (422) and steals (213). Junior F/C Shawn James ranks fourth in the nation in blocks (88).
  • Dayton's Head Coach Brian Gregory on Duquesne: "It's difficult (to prepare) because it's a team that's accustomed to playing at a frantic pace, which they're extremely, extremely good at doing. You've just got to try to prepare your guys (and) if you don't play well and you're playing a team as well-coached and as disciplined in their style as they are, it's going to be a long night. They've proven that, not just in the nonconference schedule, but in the conference, as well."

Duquesne recruit Eric Evans leads Detroit Northwestern to Detroit Public School League Title

Evans scored 20 points in a winning effort

Detroit Free Press article
Detroit News article

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Duquesne Q and A at Flyers Fieldhouse

If you want to read my take on the Dayton Duquesne game check out my responses to the Q and A from Flyers Fieldhouse.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Q and A with Flyers Fieldhouse

This week I've exchanged emails with my friends over at Flyers Fieldhouse and they agreed to exchange Q and A's before the big game.

1. Tell me about Chris Wright. What did he bring to the Flyers and how has the team recovered from his injury?

Chris Wright, when healthy, is the second best player on the team behind senior Brian Roberts and one of the top 10 talents in the entire Atlantic 10, in my opinion. He's been hampered by foot injuries all season, so we haven't seen him at full strength yet this season. We've nicknamed Chris "Flyers Jesus" and commonly refer to him as "Chris(t) Wright". We anticipate his return from injury (aka the second coming) will involve a lot of teabagging of opposing players.

The freshman is good for at least a double double every game. Before his injury, the Flyers were 13-1. Since he got hurt, Dayton squeaked by a horrific St. Louis team in overtime, dropped three straight in rapings from UMass, Xavier and a terrible, terrible Richmond team, beat the piss out of SLU, got killed at Rhode Island, had to come back against Charlotte at home and lost on a last second three at George Washington. During that time, our entire team was battling the flu, Charles "Manbearpig" Little was sidelined with a foot injury and it snowed more in Dayton than it did in Cleveland, Ohio. It was a pretty messed up time in Flyer Country. So yeah, we're looking forward to him coming back and dunking on people. Sorry that you're going to miss it, although with Commissioner Linda Bruno's horrific TV contract, if you can even call it that, I'm sure you're not going to see the game.

2. At one point this year the Flyers were 14-1 and had wins over Pitt, Rhode Island, and at Louisville, then they lost 5 of their next 7 games. What happened? Is this fall from grace more than just the injury to Chris Wright?

Like I mentioned above, Wright's ankle injury couldn't have come at a worse time. We were finally getting national publicity, we were ranked for the first time in god knows how long and it seemed like the team was clicking on all cylinders. To make matters worse, a flu bug hit the entire team, and especially Brian Roberts, who looked slightly more energetic than those people that were dying after getting infected by that disease on 24 a few seasons ago. Worse still, A-10 Sixth Man of the Year Charles Little hurt his foot and missed a bunch of games. He's back now, but the Flyers still lost to GW on Saturday. I'd give my foot to Chris(t) Wright if I thought it would get him back sooner. Oh, and Wright also played a few plays with a broken foot before finally heading to the bench. He's pretty badass.

3. Brian Roberts is having a fantastic season. Tell me about his game. Has anyone been able to stop him this year. If yes, how?

Brian Roberts is hands down the best player in the A-10 right now and one of the best players in all of college basketball. He's a finalist for the Wooden Award, is the only player in college basketball to win the completely meaningless "Player of the Week" award from and once punched me in the face. It was awesome. (I might be confusing the last one with Regina George and the movie Mean Girls.)

In all seriousness, Roberts is a lights out shooter, hitting almost 50% of his shots on the season. He can get his shot off at anytime, and he's got a step back that's incredible. B-Rob's an underrated defender, but rarely is forced to guard anyone that's any good -- we rely on him too much offensively.

In the beginning of the season, teams were doubling him routinely, but he'd still drop 25. Now he's seeing all kinds of junk defenses thrown at him, he's getting double and triple teamed as soon as he crosses half court and was visibly frustrated at all the different defensive looks that teams are throwing at him. He was held scoreless for about 35 minutes in the Charlotte game, at home. It looked like he might not even score a point for the first time all season. Then he just came alive and scored 11 points down the stretch, hitting threes, getting to the basket for an and-1 and hitting free throws to ice the game.

You give him even the slightest opening and he'll knock down a dagger three just like that. He's got NBA range and consistently hits from midrange and the foul line. He's probably the smartest player in the league at reading a defense. B-Rob's currently projected as a second rounder in the NBA draft.

4. Dayton’s only home loss was at the hands of a UMass team that likes to run. Duquesne likes to run the floor as well, will Dayton have trouble keeping up with the Dukes’ frantic pace? How will Dayton combat the Dukes’ run and gun style of play?

Dayton doesn't take to kindly to the run and gun. Akron plays run and gun and we needed double OT to eek out that win. Charlotte had the lead the entire game at UD Arena and we needed Brian Roberts late-game heroics to win that one. Rhode Island killed us on the three ball the last game and so did Xavier (f-ck that team) earlier in the season. We also suck at defending the three point line. Do you have an in with the athletic department at Duquesne? Any way you guys can forfeit the game on Wednesday?

If we can knock down open threes, it'll slow the game and allow us to play our game. Jimmy Binnie, our other "senior leader" has the most fragile psyche in the history of the A-10. If he misses a few shots, his head is completely out of the game, but if he makes them, look out. Our radio announcers call him a "parking cone" on defense and it's about the only time they're right when they're not asking all of their listeners to get drunk on Bud Lights. We brought in Wisconsin transfer Mickey Perry for the sole purpose of knocking down threes. He made his first three of the season and has missed his last 12,383,308 shots he's taken. It's safe to say we're on a cold streak from behind the arc.

5. The Dukes feature two talented 6’10 forwards, Shawn James and Kieron Achara. How will Dayton handle the Dukes’ big men?

Dayton already faced Louisville big men Derrick Caracter and Earl Clark and Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair and Sam Young and came out on the winning end. We also held our own against Akron's Jeremiah Wood, who's no slouch. The Flyers get solid play from Kurt Huelsman, who's been plagued by foul trouble of late, and Thiago Cordiero, the Brazilian transfer from Barton Community College (the team that won that championship game two years ago with the multiple steals and the layup at the buzzer). The Flyers help defense really neutralizes big men. This game is going to come down to guard play and whoever gets the most defensive stops.

6. Duquesne has struggled against zone defenses this season, especially when a team switches defense throughout the game. What type of D does Dayton normally play?

The Flyers generally play a lot of man-to-man with help defense principles, meaning any kind of lapse or slow rotation leads to an open three if the ball is moved around quickly. We've got a lockdown perimeter defender in Marcus Johnson (who played with LeBron James at St. Vincent-St. Mary). You'll also need to look out for London Warren, who's like Anderson Varejao of the Cleveland Cavaliers in guard form and in desperate need of Ritalin. He's that guy at the rec that plays defense way too hard. You might think I'm overexaggering, but he's got NBA-caliber defense right now as a sophomore. He's too short to ever make the league and he has a jump shot that is a cross between Shaquille O'Neil and Eric Snow, but he's going to frustrate the hell out of some pour soul on your team. London will either be starting or coming off the bench early and he's put together a string of double doubles the last few games. He and Marcus Johnson have been our constants on both ends of the floor during the recent Flyers lull.

Good luck to your Dukes, Patrick. I'll make a prediction that the Flyers come out with the win. We play well at home, guys are starting to get healthy again and I'm guessing the team is mad as hell after losing to GW, currently 226 in the RPI rankings and lost to some team called Maryland Baltimore County, which, I'm assuming, is not a made up school.

Duquesne recruit Eric Evans leads his team to the Detroit Public School League championship game

Here is an exerpt from Mike McCabe's article:

SHOOTING FOR ANOTHER TITLE: Eric Evans was a freshman in March 2005, when he hit a shot most players wait a lifetime to make.

Detroit Rogers was gunning for its third consecutive Class D state championship but was trailing Bellaire by a point as the clock wound down. That's when Evans hit a three-point shot and was fouled with two seconds left.

Evans made the free throw, and Rogers won a state title in the last basketball game the school ever played. It closed that June.

"I used to think about that shot all the time," said Evans. "I watched the tape about 500 times."

That was the last championship game Evans played in, but that will change Tuesday when he and his Northwestern teammates play Henry Ford in the Detroit Public School League championship game at 7:30 in Cobo Arena.

This is an intriguing matchup on several fronts. First, Northwestern is attempting to win its first PSL title since 1978, and Henry Ford is shooting for its first championship ever.

Although Northwestern and Ford were in our preseason top 25, neither was considered the best team in the PSL, but here they are.

And it is how Northwestern has gotten here that is so much fun. Behind the running-and-gunning of Evans and Julian Gentry, the Colts outgunned Pershing in the first playoff game, then outran Renaissance in the semifinals.

"The team kind of feeds off me," said Evans, a guard who signed with Duquesne. "We're a running team -- always. Coach (Steve) Hall always has athletes on the wings, and he likes to run. That's his style."

Northwestern and Ford did not play in the regular season, but Evans said they met three times in the summer, so they are well aware of each other.

"I think it could come down to guard play," Evans said. "They like to look inside first, and then they look to their guards. We run, penetrate, kick and shoot."

Dayton Preview

Duquesne travels to Dayton for a game Wednesday night against one of the premier teams in the A10. The Dayton Flyers have an RPI of 16 and are 16-6 overall and 4-5 in A10 play. While the Dukes were taking care of La Salle Saturday afternoon Dayton was getting upset by George Washington 57-54.

Dayton was one of the best teams in the country earlier this season, at one point they had a 14-1 record with wins over Pitt, Rhode Island, and at Louisville, but then super frosh Chris Wright got hurt and things changed for the Flyers. Since January 12th the Flyers have lost 5 of 7. While the Flyers seem to be in a bit of a freefall they are still 12-1 at home, their only loss at home came against UMass.

Dayton is led by 6'2 senior guard Brian Roberts. Roberts is a finalist for the Los Angeles Athletic Club's John R. Wooden Award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Naismith Trophy, and the Basketball Hall of Fame's Bob Cousy Award. He was named Preseason First Team All-Atlantic 10. He was the winner of last year's John L. Macbeth Scholar-Athlete award, and is the only Flyer basketball player to be named all-conference and academic all-conference in the same season. In short, Brian Roberts is a stud.

Roberts' 2007-08 stats: 18.7ppg, 81 assists, 60-140 for 43% 3FG, 48FG%

At the start of the season I had the Dayton game marked down as a loss on Duquesne's schedule. Now that the Flyers are struggling and without Wright the Dukes have a shot to steal this game. A win at Dayton won't be easy, the Flyers have only lost 1 game at home this year (lost to UMass 82-71), and the Flyers will be highly motivated after losing this weekend to George Washington. On top of that Duquesne has only 1 road win in the A10 this year, (La Salle). A lot of things will need to fall into place perfectly but if the Dukes play like they did against St. Joe's last week they will have a shot at an upset.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Day After

Duquesne's new rankings after the win over La Salle:

RPI: #93
Kempom/Pomeroy: #68
Sagarin: #61
College Basketball Ranking Comparison: #69

The Dukes are now 15-7 and on a two game win streak with wins over St. Joe's and La Salle. The Dukes face some stiff competition on Wednesday night when they travel to Dayton to face the Flyers who are coming off a devastating loss at George Washington.