Duquesne men bounce back from City Game blowout with satisfying victory

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After watching his team get crushed by Pitt three days ago, Duquesne coach Jim Ferry wanted his team to be more aggressive and physical.

They were both Saturday night, and rather efficient, too.

The Dukes cruised to an 88-70 victory against New Orleans at Palumbo Center, sparked by an overwhelming rebounding advantage and a crisp offense.

Duquesne outrebounded New Orleans, 54-28, en route to its largest margin of victory of the season.

Perhaps most outstanding about Duquesne's big night on the glass is New Orleans missed only eight more shots than Duquesne, meaning the Dukes didn't own the glass simply because the Privateers couldn't find the net.

"We were the aggressor on the glass," Ferry said.

The Dukes were outrebounded by 19 in a 66-45 loss to Pitt Wednesday at Consol Energy Center. That loss served as a measuring stick for Ferry's team against New Orleans.

They were looking to improve on a lackluster performance in the City Game, and viewed every statistical victory Saturday through that prism.

"We were definitely trying to be more physical," senior forward Andre Marhold said. "We got outrebounded [against Pitt], bad.

"We just wanted to bounce back and be as physical as we can. ... But basically, the offense was making more shots than we did at Consol."

The Dukes made 49.2 percent of their shots and scored 1.4 points per shot attempt, a measure of offensive efficiency. The NCAA average is approximately 0.98 points per attempt.

But Ferry stopped short of calling it a sharp offensive outing.

The Dukes committed 16 turnovers and played erratically for stretches, especially early.

"We just couldn't put these guys away," Ferry said. "They just kept coming back, kept making plays."

Despite trailing by 17 points in the first half, the Privateers (2-5) pulled within seven points of the Dukes (5-4) early in the second.

But Sean Johnson scored 14 of his game-high 21 points in the second half to lift the Dukes to their big win. He also reached a milestone, becoming the 37th 1,000-point scorer in team history after hitting a first-half 3-pointer.

Duquesne freshman guard Derrick Colter added 17 points and Marhold scored 14.

Marhold twice sparked the Dukes with highlight-reel worthy plays -- in the first half with an emphatic block on a Corey Blake dunk attempt, and in the second half with a monstrous put-back dunk on a missed 3-pointer.

"We need [Marhold] to play like this every game," Johnson said. "We can't just shoot [3-pointers] and have guards penetrating all the time. We need to go inside, also."

Ferry agreed with his player's assessment.

"When Andre plays like this ... it makes us a potent offensive team," he said. "It makes us significantly better. We'll shoot at a higher percentage."

It was the first game outside Louisiana for the Privateers, whose only other road game this season came against intra-state foe Nicholls State.

Lovell Cook led New Orleans with 12 points. Rarlensee Nelson recorded a double-double with 10 points, 10 assists and no turnovers.

Duquesne led, 53-39, at halftime and shot 50 percent from the field in the first half.

The 53 points were the most the Dukes scored in a half this season and eight more than they scored total against Pitt.

They got there behind a barrage of outside shots, as six players contributed seven 3-pointers.

Duquesne shot 46.7 percent (7 for 15) from 3-point range in the first half.

After a quick start by New Orleans, Colter led the Dukes on an 11-0 run the next three minutes, scoring nine points as Duquesne took a 15-8 lead with 14:51 remaining in the first half.

"I thought he really set the tone," Ferry said of his freshman point guard.

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Michael Sanserino: msanserino@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1722 or on Twitter @msanserino.


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