Duquesne lost to Louisiana-Lafayette last Saturday and then the Dukes scattered and went home to spend Christmas with their families.
The plan was for them to return to campus Wednesday and get three good days of practice leading up to their road game today at Penn State.
Sometimes the best plans don't always come to fruition, and a mid-week winter storm wreaked havoc on travel across the Eastern Seaboard, meaning many players and even some coaches didn't make it back to campus until late Thursday.
"Obviously we weren't able to get much done as many of our players were coming from areas that were hit hard by the storm," said coach Jim Ferry. "But that's a part of it. We tried to do as much as we can, but given that we haven't played since last Saturday, it is probably going to be a little bit ugly for the first few minutes of this game.
Duquesne (7-6) at Penn State (7-4), 4 p.m. today, Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, Pa.
- TV, Radio:
ESPN3; WPGB-FM (104.7 FM)
Is 1-4 on the road this season. ... Freshman Derrick Colter scored 25 points in each of the past two games and was named Atlantic 10 rookie of the week for the second week in a row. ... Has signed a four-year (home-and-home) deal with Penn State. ... Senior Sean Johnson has scored 20 points or more three times this season. ... Beat Penn State, 66-59, last year at Consol Energy Center.
- Penn State:
Is 15-4 in past 19 home games against Duquesne and 13-3 overall in past 16 games against the Dukes. ... Is 6-1 at home this season with lone loss coming to Boston College. ... Is 0-1 against Atlantic 10 opponents this year, as LaSalle beat the Nittany Lions, 82-57. ... Junior Jermaine Marshall and sophomore D.J. Newbill lead the team in scoring with 15.1 ppg each.
- Hidden stat:
Duquesne coach Jim Ferry was 0-3 in games at Penn State when he was coach at Long Island.
"The hope is that as the game wears on, we start to get our legs back and we sort of find a little rhythm and make a good showing of it."
The Dukes will play today, then have 10 days off before they play again, meaning they really only play this one game in nearly a three-week span.
It isn't ideal, according to Ferry, who said he was trying to get another game scheduled or at least move one of the December games to next week. But by the same token, he is taking the approach that it will be like training camp again -- only in the middle of the season.
"We really played an abnormal amount of games in December. It seemed like we played every other day some weeks and that wasn't spread out very well at times," Ferry said. "Obviously most of the schedule was done before I got here and there wasn't much room to move stuff around so we did the best we could with it all.
"I actually am OK with all of these days coming up of practice because it really gives us a chance to work on the things we need to work on, the areas we need to improve, and really clean some things up. We have the benefit now at taking a look at what we have done to this point and really focusing in on those things we haven't done well."
Penn State and Duquesne have met 43 times, but this is the first game of a four-game home-and-home series the two will play against each other.
Ferry said this series against the Nittany Lions, who are led by high-scoring guards junior Jermaine Marshall and sophomore D.J. Newbill, is one that he hopes to continue as long as he is a Duquesne because it benefits both teams.
"I've said all along these rivalry games are great for the state, great for both schools, great for basketball," Ferry said. "We always want to play Penn State, West Virginia, Pitt, Robert Morris -- these are great games for us to play. Penn State is close, it is a high-academic school like us, it is a younger team that is on the rise -- this is always going to be a good game for us to play."
This is the final non-conference game for the Dukes, who begin Atlantic 10 play Jan. 9 at Fordham, then play their first conference home game Jan. 12 against Saint Joseph's.
Freshman Derrick Colter has become the leading scorer at 13.2 points per game after two consecutive 25-point games, but Ferry said that is a byproduct of several factors and is hoping the offense becomes a little more balanced in the upcoming weeks.
"I think teams have defended Sean [Johnson] really well in recent games and they have defended the 3-point line well," Ferry said. "That has opened up some lanes to the hoop for Derrick and he is very good at driving and he is taking good shots and making them. But we need more guys to get involved in scoring and that's one of those things we can work on over the next week or two."
Paul Zeise: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter: @paulzeise.