First-year Duquesne men's basketball coach Jim Ferry has seen his team lose two games and learned two things -- there is much to be encouraged about, but his team's lack of experience in his system and in games will be an issue for a while.
Ferry said the Dukes' opportunities to win against Albany Friday and Georgetown Sunday showed the players are buying into the system and capable of playing well.
But he also said losing both games reflected the immaturity of a team whose only seasoned veterans are Sean Johnson and Andre Marhold.
"The way I would describe our team is we are very game inexperienced and it showed up especially at the end," Ferry said. "I can point to mistakes, costly ones, and poor decisions down the stretch that show how far we have to go. Things like not boxing out on a free throw and giving up an offensive rebound against Albany or getting beat on a back cut late against Georgetown.
"These are things you just can't do, but they are things you get when you are working with inexperienced players. The good news is there is a lot of room for us to grow."
Albany beat the Dukes, 69-66, and the Hoyas beat them, 61-55.Ferry said the most disappointing thing was that, at least against Albany, the upperclassmen didn't take a leading role.
Freshman Derrick Colter led the Dukes against Albany with 17 points and freshman Quevyn Winters had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Johnson and Marhold were a combined 4 of 17 from the field while combining to score 13 points.
"It is great what we got out of the freshmen, and I think we have some very good younger players in our program," Ferry said. "But they are freshman, you are going to have peaks and valleys and they are going to struggle at times. It just isn't realistic to believe you can consistently win on the road unless your upperclassmen step forward.
"I thought that both Sean and Andre bounced back well and did what we expect from them in the Georgetown game, but we need that to be a consistent thing for us to have a chance."
As if to prove Ferry's point about peaks and valleys, Colter had seven points against Georgetown and Winters had two points and no rebounds; Johnson collected 21 points and eight rebounds.
The Dukes (0-2) won't play again until Monday, when they play host to James Madison in a Legend's Classic game, and that means Ferry will have had a week to correct some of what the Dukes did wrong.
He said the team won't spend much time working on what James Madison does because they have too much work to do on their own play.
"This week is really about working on us," Ferry said. "We need to tighten some things up on defense, we need to continue to get better at rebounding and shooting. I think we can be a very good shooting team, but we didn't do that the first two games."
Paul Zeise: email@example.com and Twitter @paulzeise.