Richmond was dealt a heavy blow last week with the announcement that leading scorer Cedrick Lindsay (18.3 points per game) would miss the remainder of the season after tearing the meniscus in both knees.
The Spiders (15-7, 5-3 Atlantic 10) took the news in stride, though, as guard Kendall Anthony scored 28 points in a 64-62 victory Wednesday against St. Bonaventure.
Tonight, Richmond visits Duquesne (10-12, 2-7), which is riding a three-game losing streak, at Palumbo Center.
Second-year Dukes coach Jim Ferry said the short-handed and senior-less Spiders still present plenty of problems.
To start, there’s Anthony, the Atlantic 10’s eighth-leading scorer (15.3 points per game). He has scored a combined 59 points in the past two games.
“[Anthony] is just playing phenomenal right now, averaging 20 points per game in league play, with great quickness and great shot-blocking,” Ferry said. “We’ve got a lot to prepare for.”
The Dukes and their up-tempo transition offensive have hit a scoring slump, averaging just 62.6 points per game in the past three games. They have fallen to fifth in the Atlantic 10 scoring race with 74.9 points per game.
“We’ve gotten out of our rhythm,” Ferry said. “We haven’t clicked in these past three games.
“Obviously, teams are getting to know each other a little bit more … but we’ve got to start playing a little more unselfishly.
“The ball’s got to move more.”
Richmond, meanwhile, boasts the fourth-best defense in the conference, allowing 65.8 points per game.
“They really defend you,” Ferry said. “Here we are talking about us not playing well offensively, and now we’ve got to play a really good defensive team.”
The Spiders defense will be tasked with slowing Duquesne senior forward Ovie Soko, averaging 18.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
Soko has been superb at times, sloppy at others.
His versatility has enabled him to attack from the perimeter and get to the free-throw line. On the other hand, it also had led to some ugly stat lines like his 10 combined turnovers over the past two games.
“When Ovie is playing well, we’re playing well,” Ferry said.
“That’s been very obvious throughout the year. I think we’ve got to play a little bit better around him offensively, so he doesn’t have to do as much.”
After being badly beaten on the boards each of its past three games, Duquesne might finally catch a break because the Spiders average six fewer rebounds per game than their opponents.
That should offer Dukes junior center Dominique McKoy a bounce-back opportunity after a two-point, zero-rebound performance in a 74-68 loss Saturday against George Mason.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: email@example.com, 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.