Ferry hopes Dukes build off home win

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Duquesne opens a three-game road swing tonight by taking a break from the rigors of Atlantic 10 play.

The Dukes (9-9, 2-4 Atlantic 10) will visit Newark, N.J., to face New Jersey Institute of Technology (9-13) in their final non-conference game this season.

With a dramatic, last-second 83-81 victory Saturday against St. Bonaventure, Duquesne surpassed its overall and conference win totals from last season, when it finished 8-22 and 1-15 in the Atlantic 10.

Scouting report
Matchup: Duquesne (9-9) vs. New Jersey Institute of Technology (9-13), 7 p.m. today, Fleisher Athletic Center, Newark, N.J.

Radio, Internet: WPGB-FM (104.7), GoDuquesne.com.

Duquesne: Leads the Atlantic 10 with 1.4 to 1 assist-to-turnover ratio. ... Ranks second in the conference in scoring (77.2 ppg) and assists per game (15.4). ... Senior forward Ovie Soko is the only player ranked in the Atlantic 10 top-10 in scoring (17.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.5 rpg).

NJIT: Averages 70.4 points scored and 72.8 points allowed per game. ... Shoots 37 percent from 3-point range as a team. ... Freshman guard Damon Lynn averages 9.8 3-point attempts per game and is No. 4 in Division I with 3.8 3-point makes per game.

Hidden stat: Lynn has 313 field-goal attempts and 216 3-point attempts. No Duquesne player has attempted more than 211 field goals this season.

Sophomore guard Derrick Colter's 3-pointer at the buzzer snapped the Dukes' four-game losing streak.

"You win one like this and you hope it increases the [team's] confidence level," second-year Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said.

"More importantly, as a coach, you hope the kids learn that the game is never over."

It's a quick turnaround for the Highlanders, too, as they ended a three-game skid Monday with a 65-59 overtime road win against Delaware State.

Freshman guard Jake Duncan had a game-high 19 points and five 3-pointers off the bench.

The young NJIT roster features six freshmen and just one senior, and the unquestioned focal point of the offense is freshman guard Damon Lynn (17.3 points per game).

Lynn has attempted 119 more shots than any of his teammates.

Despite hitting just one of 13 3-point attempts against Delaware State, Lynn is a 38 percent 3-point shooter.

He has taken 216 attempts from beyond the arc, one attempt more than the rest of the roster (215).

Ferry said the Dukes, who have allowed 79.5 points per game in six Atlantic 10 games, need to improve defensively before they enter the heart of the conference schedule.

"We're not defending in Atlantic 10 play to the level we need to in order to win," Ferry said.

"We have been competing on the glass better; we've outrebounded our opponents the last two games, which is vital for us to have success.

"We've just got to keep focused and keep getting better defensively to make sure we're ready for the tournament."

Senior forward Ovie Soko, Duquesne's leading scorer (17.8 points, 7.5 rebounds per game) knocked in 27 points against St. Bonaventure.

Sophomore guard Micah Mason continued his torrid shooting pace -- he has scored 15 points in each of the past two games, hitting a combined 10 of 13 3-point attempts. Mason is shooting 61 percent from 3-point range this season.

After Newark, the Dukes will travel to Philadelphia and Washington, closing the road trip with Atlantic 10 games against La Salle and George Washington.

"I think the team feels good that we're headed in the right direction," Ferry said.

Stephen J. Nesbitt: snesbitt@post-gazette.com, 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.

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