It has been a long, difficult season for Duquesne, but the bottom line is that it is finally coming to an end, as the Dukes have only two games remaining.
Coach Jim Ferry then will be able to go out and recruit some help as he continues his quest to rebuild the Dukes program.
Ferry already has two recruits slated to come in next year -- two 6-foot-8 Canadians in Jordan Robinson and Isaiah Watkins -- and also has 6-8 UAB transfer Ovie Soko sitting out this year due to NCAA transfer rules.
With those three, Ferry will address an immediate need in frontcourt depth, but the recruiting process won't really begin until Saturday after the Dukes' final game.
The task at hand, however, is sending seniors Sean Johnson and Andre Marhold out the right way, as the Dukes (8-20, 1-13 Atlantic 10) play Charlotte (18-10, 6-8) for senior night tonight at Palumbo Center.
Marhold and Johnson will be honored before the game, and while both have had solid careers for the Dukes, their senior season has not gone as they had planned.
Both were recruited by former coach Ron Everhart but are finishing their careers with Ferry, and they have found out the hard way that a coaching change often is toughest on the seniors.
But while Marhold and Johnson have gone through adversity this year, they have persevered and shown leadership for the younger players.
Duquesne (8-20, 1-13 Atlantic 10) vs. Charlotte (18-10, 6-8), 7 p.m. today, Palumbo Center.
It is senior night for Andre Marhold and Sean Johnson, who will be honored before the final home game of their careers. ... Johnson will play in his 122nd game, third all time in school history. ... Marhold is Duquesne's all-time leader in dunks with 49. ... Has lost seven home games in a row.
In final season as Atlantic 10 member and will play in Conference USA next year. ... Is 2-3 in games played against Duquesne in Pittsburgh. ... Has lost four in a row and is 1-4 in past five. ... Is outscoring opponents by 0.2 points per game.
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Charlotte averages 67.8 points per game, Duquesne averages 67.4.
That is why Ferry said they will be missed greatly when they are gone.
"Senior night is always an emotional night and these two guys have done a lot for Duquesne basketball and our Duquesne community," Ferry said. "It is always tough being a senior in a transition year. Those two guys have helped my transition and have helped lead the young guys all season long.
"I wish I had the opportunity to coach these guys longer -- and only hope I was able to provide a positive influence on their lives. Both guys will be very successful in their futures and will always be a big part of the Duquesne basketball family."
Johnson will leave the program third all time in games played with 123, assuming he plays in the final two, and has scored 1,216 points to rank 24th on the all-time scoring list.
Marhold is Duquesne's leader in career dunks with 49 and is fifth all time in school history with 105 blocked shots.
Earlier this season, Ferry benched Marhold because he was not pleased with his effort. But the Charlotte, N.C., native fought hard to get back in the starting lineup and has been one of the Dukes' best players the past five games.
After the game tonight, Duquesne will travel to Richmond Saturday to finish the season against the Spiders.
Duquesne has lost 15 of its past 16 games and four in a row, but the most important losing streak they are looking to break tonight is a seven-game skid at home.
Paul Zeise: email@example.com, 412-263-1720 and Twitter @paulzeise. First Published March 6, 2013 5:00 AM