Hopes were high for Duquesne entering A-10 play after producing a reasonably sound game against Georgia Tech of the ACC; however, they were handed yet another tough defeat at the hands of Dayton, 66-58.
Coming into this afternoon’s game, Duquesne was already ailing and short-handed due to Jeremiah Jones’ season-ending injury, but more team changing news frowned down upon them. Duquesne’s three-point specialist, Micah Mason, was unavailable for the Dukes after twisting his ankle late against Georgia Tech.
“Changes game plan a ton,” said Duquesne coach Jim Ferry, “Kid is one of the best players in the league.”
With the absence of Mason changing the entire complexion of Duquesne’s offense, Ferry’s Dukes had to adapt without having a dead-eye shot in their lineup to shift momentum at any time.
In turn, that led to Derrick Colter trying to do way too much, with way too little.
Colter’s small frame does not help, but tonight he proved that he, in fact, has off nights like everybody else. In spite of the fact that he may have the biggest heart on the entire roster, ill-advised shots below the rim when you are a foot shorter than everyone else is no excuse for failure.
It is also worth noting that Colter has been on a relatively long cold streak, as he is only 18-75 (24 percent) from the field in his last five games including tonight’s affair.
This afternoon’s game opened with a three-pointer from freshman guard Josh Steel, who is expected to have his minutes increased for the Dukes even when Mason returns. Nevertheless, that would be the last lead Duquesne would see over the Flyers for quite some time.
On another note, Duquesne was lucky to leave the first half with a 25-20 deficit, just look at the numbers. Dayton, not notorious for being automatic three-point shooters, shot six percent (1-17) from behind the arc to go along with 11 turnovers that led to 10 points in one-half alone.
“I think it was weird for us to have that many turnovers,” said Dukes big man Darius Lewis.
Nobody truly emerged as a force for Dayton until the second half. Charles Cooke, Flyers star guard, went on a second half rampage by collecting 17 points and four rebounds, while going 9-10 from the charity stripe.
Much like Dayton, nobody claimed a firm grasp of Duquesne’s offense and put the Flyers in danger early, but that soon changed as well. Lewis used his height to help Duquesne on the glass and scored 10 points in the post.
Adding to Lewis’ strong glass play was Eric James, also with seven points, nabbed a team-high 12 boards. If it were not for foul trouble – five on the day – James would have, more than likely, collected a double-double. One of Duquesne’s successes tonight was rebounding, despite the fact that Dayton had an extreme height advantage.
Free throw shooting proved to be a strength for both teams tonight. Duquesne’s L.G. Gill led the herd, though, as he was the only man perfect at the line with more than two shots.
Defense was reasonably tight on both sides throughout, which led to a ton of contested shots. The Dukes’ Colter had this to say after the loss, “They did a good job making sure every shot was contested.”As mentioned earlier, Colter was the main target for Dayton to lockdown and without Mason, Duquesne had a limited number of guys to turn to for consistent shot success.
Currently, there is no timetable for Mason’s return, so the Dukes will need someone to establish themselves as a perimeter threat for the time being if they plan on continuing to compete in A-10 play.
Duquesne will shift focus to their next matchup, another A-10 matchup, against Davidson this Saturday in North Carolina at 7 pm.