Saturday, March 8, 2008

Dukes crush Saint Louis...

I am currently in Allentown PA at my fiance's bridal shower for the weekend. Needless to say I missed the game this afternoon and of course the Dukes rolled and are back on track for a potential run in the A10 tournament. Let's Go Dukes!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Dukes lose to Temple 90-85

Bad defense, too many turnovers, and Dionte Christmas are the reasons the Dukes lost to Temple last night. How many open layups did Temple have in the first half? Way too many. How often were the Dukes sloppy with the basketball? Too often, (19 turnovers). How many points to Dionte Christmas drop on Duquesne last night? Too many, (a career high 37.)

The Dukes look like an inferior team in the first half constantly trailing, making mental mistakes, and allowing easy buckets. The only thing that kept the Dukes in the ball game was the fantastic offense play from Reggie Jackson and Kieron Achara. Early in the 2nd half it looked like Temple was going to run away with the game but then all of a sudden the Dukes went on a big run and got back in the game. Kieron Achara had a career game for Duquesne in Shawn James' absence. Achara was 5-6 from beyond the arch, he ended the game with 24 points.

The Dukes kept it close down the stretch run of the game but 2 missed free throws with less than 3 minutes left may have been the clinching point in the game. Duquesne trailed by 2 with Gary Tucker at the line to shoot 2. Tucker missed both of his free throws, Kieron Achara battled for the rebound on the 2nd miss, but lost the ball to a Temple player who he then fouled. The Temple player made both of his free throws to give the Owls a 4 point lead. That 4 point swing was the difference in last night's game.

Gary Tucker has been involved in a collision with Temple's Mark Tyndale in the first half, and every time Tucker touched the ball after that collision the Temple fans chanted obscenities at Tucker. I have never seen a player react so poorly to heckling. From that point in the game on Tucker went into a shell. Tucker ended the game with 1 point, 2 turnovers, on 0-5 shooting from the field, and 1-4 from the free throw line in 21 minutes of playing time.

Lately it seems like a handful of players step up for Duquesne, but the rest of the team doesn't show up. A total team effort is necessary if Duquesne expects to win at Temple. The Dukes lack the defensive energy that they played with when they were playing so well earlier this season.

Kojo Mensah played reluctantly in the first half but he finally got some of his confidence back in the 2nd half. Kojo ended the game with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 5 turnovers. Kojo had been playing without any confidence the last few games and hopefully his strong 2nd half performance against Temple will help him get back on track against St. Louis.

The Dukes have now lost 5 in a row and still have not locked up a spot in the A10 tournament. Duquesne will finish their regular season schedule this Saturday when they host Saint Louis at 4pm. The game will be aired locally on Fox Sports Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

James has shoulder tear

Duquesne University forward/center Shawn James has been diagnosed with a small tear in the labrum of his right shoulder and is doubtful for Wednesday night's game at Temple. He is scheduled to see a shoulder specialist tomorrow morning. "Shawn had an MRI done this morning that showed a small tear," said Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart. "Our team physician felt it best that he see a specialist before beginning any kind of rehab and he'll do that tomorrow. "He will not be traveling with the team. If it is determined that he can play, there is a possibility we could fly him to Philadelphia tomorrow and have him for limited duty. If not, he'll stay back and begin rehab."

The Dukes have lost 4 games in a row with Shawn James in the lineup, maybe James' injury will force some of his teammates to step up and help get the Dukes get out of the funk they are in.

Don't forget that the Temple game will be on Fox Sports Pittsburgh at 7pm.

Bullet Points

  • Shawn James is listed as questionable for the Temple game Wednesday night.
  • Ron Everhart: "It might be worse than what we originally thought. We'll know more when we get the test results (today)"
  • The game against Temple on Wednesday will be aired live on Fox Sports Pittsburgh, tip off is scheduled for 7pm

Monday, March 3, 2008

Local big man mulls scholarship offers

Mckeesport's 7'0 209 pound junior center Zeke Marshall (pictured left) has received scholarship offers from some some big time programs including Pitt, Virginia, and Virginia Tech after growing several inches in the last year and vastly improving his game during his junior season. Duquesne has showed interest in Marshall but has yet to offer him a scholarship according to Marshall will be a part of the 2009 recruiting class.

The Dukes have yet to sign a legit post player for the 2008 recruiting class, 6'8 Ali Djim has signed with the Dukes but things seem to be up in the air with him right now, and even if he does come to Duquesne he has "project" written all over him. The Dukes offered a scholarship to 6'9 225 pound center Garvin Hunt of Weston, FL, but he has since committed to Penn. Duquesne had also offered a scholarship to 6'11 Maurice Sutton from Upper Marlboro, MD, but it appears that he no longer has a scholarship offer waiting for him at Duquesne. Sutton is still being recruited by La Salle, Seton Hall, and South Flordia.

The Dukes have several talented guards in their 2008 recruiting class but they need to add at least one post player to their list of recruits or they take the risk of having only 3 or 4 post players next season depending on if Shawn James returns to the program or not. Maybe it is just me but having only Ali Djim, David Theis and Brandon Harris as our post players scares me.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Dukes drop ball -- fall to 49ers -- Shawn James injured

Game Wrap up
Box Score

When will we see Shawn James in uniform again?

The Dukes have now lost 4 in a row and must win at least one more game this season to make the A10 Tournament. Pretty scary to think that in January we were talking about this team going to the NCAA Tournament and now they are fighting to make the A10 tournament. It gets worse: Shawn James hurt his shoulder yesterday when he collided with Charlotte's Charlie Coley midway through the second half. James did not return to the game following the collision. James' is expected to undergo tests today in Pittsburgh to determine the extent of the injury.

18 turnovers, 4 committed by Kojo Mensah vs. only 1 assists from Kojo, missed open shots/layups, and 10 total points from Shawn James and Aaron Jackson all led the Dukes to their 11th loss of the season. The Dukes simply have not learned how to win close conference games. Great teams win games when they play poorly, Duquesne did not give a strong performance yesterday and they couldn't find a way to close out the game with a W. The Dukes won 10 games last year, and they have 16 wins this year, next year I expect the Dukes will win a few games like the one they lost yesterday.

Bill Clark had a strong showing yesterday and is quickly moving up my list of important Duquesne players. Clark is tough, when he gets bumped or fouled it seems to flip a switch inside of him and he subsequently turns his game up a notch. Clark ended the game with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 1 steal, and 1 block. Clark has had two major problems this year, 1. confidence, and 2. consistency. Clark went through a long shooting drought in the middle of the season and he started passing up shots and playing tentative basketball. Clark is at his best when he is playing aggressively. Clark also lacks consistency, one game he will play great, the next game he will be invisible and only take 1 or 2 shots. I would expect Clark to remedy these problems the more playing time he gets and the more he matures. Look for Bill Clark to play a much larger role for the Dukes next year.

Is Shawn James' injury a blessing in disguise? This has been a great year for the Dukes, and another in a big step towards a successful basketball program, but let's be realistic, this year's team isn't going anywhere in the A10 tournament and may not even make the NIT now that they have lost 4 in a row. I'd rather lose James for the rest of this year if it means he will come back to play his last year of eligibility. One would assume that if this shoulder injury keeps James out a few games he would come back next season in an effort to prove he is healthy to pro scouts.

Lady Dukes advance to A10 Tournament - finish season 15-14

The Lady Dukes cruise past La Salle 65-32 and clinch the No. 9 seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament. The Lady Dukes will have a long layoff before the play Richmond in the first round of the A10 tournament on Friday March 7th. Richmond better be ready for the Lady Dukes who have now won 4 in a row.

Suzie McConnell-Serio has done a fantastic job with the Lady Dukes in her first year at the helm. Last year the Lady Dukes were 7-20 overall and 2-12 in the A10 play under former head coach Dan Durkin. Things will only get better next year because McConnell-Serio has two stud transfers waiting in the wings to contribute next season, Eve Pyle (Miami, Ohio) and 5-11 Rachel Frederick (Ohio University). Frederick has local connections, her brother Adam was a star QB for WPIAL Champion Shady Side Academy in 1999. Adam later played scholarship football at Kent State.

3 huge games left

PG Article
Trib Article

The Dukes have had a great season, but they have lost 3 in a row and have 3 very tough opponents left on their schedule. The question remains which Duquesne will show up today, the one that beat Dayton on the road, or the one that lost to La Salle at home? We will find out at 2pm this afternoon.