RECON: @ Duquesne (11-6) Saturday, 6 p.m.
By: Jon May, Contributor
Date & Time: 1/16/16 6:00 p.m.
Records: Duquesne 11-6 (1-3), St. Bonaventure 12-3 (4-0)
Venue: A.J. Palumbo Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Watch: American Sports Network/SNY/MASN
The Opponent: St. Bonaventure hits the road to face the Duquesne Dukes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Duquesne is led by Jim Ferry (44-64) who is in his fourth season at the helm of the Dukes. Ferry has done a nice job of making Duquesne entertaining to watch, but has yet to get his program above six wins in the conference. This season, Duquesne has struggled out of the gate in conference play losing their first three, but finally notched a win over St. Louis this past Wednesday. Though they won by ten points, Duquesne gave up 58 points in the second half after allowing only 13 in the first.
Last Time: February 28th, 2015. St. Bonaventure took down the Dukes in the Reilly Center by the score of 92-75. Marcus Posley, backed by 6, 3-pointers, finished with a game high 29 points. Earlier in the season, Posley and company had a little more trouble on their trip to the Palumbo Center. Marcus Posley again backed by some hot, outside shooting, took down the Dukes in overtime by the score of 100-97. These highlights are simply fantastic to watch.
The Skinny on Duquesne: Duquesne can score and can score often. The Dukes are third in the A10 in PPG at 78.2. In comparison, the Bonnies are 5th at 76.7. The Dukes are also at the top of the conference in terms of possessions on offense. They like to shoot, shoot often and shoot early. They are averaging 4 more possessions per 40 minutes than the Bonnies this season. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean they are scoring each possession but that can lead to a possible 12 extra points if those four possessions end in made 3 point field goals. All of this means, Duquesne will look and feel like the Duquesne fans have gotten accustomed to seeing under Jim Ferry.
Duquesne is 15th in the nation at offensive possession length. They will look to run and shoot often. They also shoot well from inside the arc and also defend well inside the arc. A true test for Dion, Derrick and Gregg as they head inside. Screen grab from Kenpom.com
Screen grab courtesy of Bbstate.com
The Known (their best players): The familiar faces of Derrick Colter and Micah Mason. In Colter, you have the player who will gain the attention of the perimeter defenders and plays a typical style of A10 guard who will look to drive to the basket and take his open 3’s when possible. Colter is 11th in the A10 in points per game and is also 11th in FT%. His name will be all over the broadcast as well as Micah Mason’s name, who is a career 46.9% 3-point shooter. This season, he is below his career average from behind the arc but brings a senior mentality to the floor as well as the reputation that his shots will always fall. Mason has been injured this season, so he’s still likely not 100%.
The Keys to Victory:
- Limiting Micah Mason from beyond the arc. Mason is shooting close to 40% on the year from 3-point range.
- Derrick Colter will draw fouls by driving into the paint and the Bonnies need to avoid losing a key player early.
- Winning the rebounding battle will be important. Duquesne is second in the A10 in 2PTFG%. Duquesne can rebound and put back shots on the offensive glass. The same ‘team rebounding,’ mentality must travel with the Bonnies to Pittsburgh.
- AVOID A LETDOWN. With a visit from Dayton looming large next week, teams may look past a foe below them in the standings. Also, the Bonnies are coming off what is perhaps their most important win of the season so far in their win over Rhode Island. Facing the Dayton Flyers at 5-0 can only be done by taking down teams at the bottom of the conference and Saturday poses a whole new set of tests the Bonnies haven’t faced this year or for the past several years. The Bonnies have shown they can win on the road, but now we get to see what its like for this Bonnies team to be the ‘Hunted,’ and not the ‘Hunter.’
The Gut Feeling: This game has trouble written all over it especially when that dreaded term, ‘Trap Game,’ can come into play. With young men still learning the game of basketball you can understand how a letdown may occur from time to time. With the Bonnies flying high after a huge win over Rhode Island there is a chance that the SBU may overlook the Dukes. Duquesne is not as bad as their record shows in conference and they can score a ton of points. Not much has really changed since the last two meetings when it comes to how the teams will play. The Bonnies will look to get their ‘Big 3’ going and the Dukes with their duo of guards in Colter and Mason who can score from all over, will look to assert their faster tempo of play to get the score into the 80’s maybe 90’s. Duquesne has talent to win this game especially on their home floor and I would be shocked to see Duquesne pull one out Saturday. The overall feeling that I have though is that when Mark Schmidt and company play a dud, they rectify the situation the next game. The same should be said after huge wins and his A10 tournament resume should speak to that fact. Schmidt has a way to focus his players for each contest and I see the Bonnies making enough plays to escape Pittsburgh with a win. It seems that every game the Bonnies have somebody rising above to seal a win, who’s ready for Dion to go off for 25 and 10? I know I am…
The Prediction: St. Bonaventure 84, Duquesne 75