When Duquesne faced St. Bonaventure at Palumbo Center last month, it took a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Derrick Colter at the buzzer to end an 83-81 game that saw five lead changes in the final minute.
Dukes coach Jim Ferry expects another such game tonight when Duquesne (11-13, 3-8 Atlantic 10) heads to Olean, N.Y., for a rematch against the Bonnies (15-10, 5-6).
“You’ve got two teams with somewhat different styles,” Ferry said Monday. “They’re really big and physical and want to pound it inside, and we’re trying to play up-tempo.”
Big and brutish have trumped speed since the teams’ last meeting.
St. Bonaventure has won three of its past five games, with its losses coming by two and three points against Richmond and Dayton, respectively.
The Dukes lost four in a row, including a 17-point loss against Richmond, before going on the road to defeat Rhode Island, 83-71, Saturday.
“We went from one extreme to the other last week,” Ferry said.
“I thought we played probably one of our worst basketball games of the season at home against Richmond, and then we went on the road … and played with great energy and focus.
“Hopefully, we can build on that game Saturday and continue to play that way, because when we play that way we give ourselves a chance to win every game. And, obviously, when we play the way we did against Richmond we’re not going to win any games.”
Senior forward Ovie Soko had 19 points and 12 rebounds against the Rams for his sixth double-double this season.
Meanwhile, freshman forward L.G. Gill added a season-high 19 points off the bench.
The Bonnies are led by senior guards Matthew Wright and Charlon Kloof, who average 15.7 and 15.2 points per game, respectively. Wright scored a game-high 24 points in St. Bonaventure’s 85-73 road victory Saturday against George Mason.
“They’re an offensively efficient team,” Ferry said.
“A very confident offensive team, and they know who they are.”
The Dukes leads the series, 58-53, but have lost the past five at Reilly Center, where the Bonnies are 9-2 this season.
“This has always been a rivalry game and it’s been a tough place to play,” Ferry said.
“We’re going to have to play very well to win the game at their place.”
Stephen J. Nesbitt: email@example.com, 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.