Dukes have chance to end woeful streaks at Temple
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Duquesne has plenty of losing streaks to try to end tonight at Temple, and even if the Dukes lose to the Owls, they will eventually have the opportunity to break them all.
Well, all of them with the exception of one -- they are on a nine-game losing streak in regular season games played against the Owls in Philadelphia.
But if Duquesne (7-16, 0-9 Atlantic 10) doesn't win tonight, that losing streak will go to 10, one that might never be broken because this is the final time that these two teams will meet as conference foes.
That's because the Owls (16-7, 5-4) will join the Big East next year in all sports -- they were members of the football conference this year -- although that league has changed so dramatically that it is not even going to be recognizable. In the next two years Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers and Louisville will leave the Big East for different conferences, along with the so-called "basketball-only schools," which will form their own league entirely.
Regardless, this is the final time the Dukes and Owls will play as conference rivals and maybe that's a good thing for Duquesne.
Temple leads the series with Duquesne, 40-14, and that includes a 21-5 advantage in games played in Philadelphia and a 31-9 mark in games played during the Atlantic 10 regular season.
Duquesne did beat Temple in 2011 in Pittsburgh, but for the most part, this has been a one-sided series, especially of late. Despite that, Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said he is sad to see the Owls going elsewhere.
"They have been a staple in this conference for a long time with great players," Ferry said. "And they have had such great coaches as John Chaney and Fran Dunphy. They have certainly left their mark on this conference and I am disappointed that they are leaving -- I was looking forward to competing against Temple as we build this program.
"It is sad to see a long conference rivalry end."
That being said, Ferry knows that this game will be a huge challenge for the Dukes who are in the midst of an 11-game losing streak and have lost six in a row on the road.
Duquesne's most-recent road win was Nov. 28 at Appalachian State, but the Dukes have struggled to win pretty much anywhere.
Temple, on the other hand, has played really well of late, has non-conference wins against Villanova and Syracuse, and it is 10-2 at home.
The Owls are also coming off a 72-71 victory against Dayton -- a win that kept their NCAA hopes alive -- as they trailed by 10 points with less than five minutes to play and closed the game on a 14-3 run.
Leading the way for Temple is Atlantic 10 player of the year candidate Khalif Wyatt, who averages 18.9 points per game and is one of the league leaders in 3-pointers (48) and assists (90).
Duquesne likely will start three freshmen (Jeremiah Jones, Quevyn Winters and Derrick Colter) in the lineup again. Ferry said after Saturday's loss to Xavier that he thinks it gave them a different look and also gave senior Sean Johnson a chance to come off the bench and give them a spark
First Published February 14, 2013 12:00 am