Duquesne (14-9) at St. Bonaventure (12-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 11th, 4:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reilly Center (5,480) -- St. Bonaventure, New York. Television: CBSSN-Regional. Home Record: Duquesne 9-3, St. Bonaventure 8-1. Away Record: Duquesne 3-5, St. Bonaventure 4-7. Neutral Record: Duquesne 2-1, St. Bonaventure 0-1. Conference Record: Duquesne 5-4, St. Bonaventure 5-4. Series Record: Duquesne leads, 57-50.
GAME NOTES: The Duquesne Dukes take to the road Saturday in hopes of extending their winning streak as St. Bonaventure plays host to an Atlantic-10 Conference tilt at the Reilly Center.
Duquesne got past Richmond, 81-72, at home this past weekend to earn its second win in a row. The Dukes got 17 points from Eric Evans, 15 of those in the second half, as the hosts ended a 14-game losing streak to the Spiders and improved to 5-4 in league play. Duquesne never trailed and built its lead as high as 16 in the second half, placing five different players in double figures. Sean Johnson and Jerry Jones each had 14 points and T.J. McConnell netted 13 as the Dukes shot 46.8 percent from the floor and turned 16 Richmond turnovers into 24 points.
St. Bonaventure dropped its second straight game Wednesday, falling to Massachusetts 76-67 on the road. The Bonnies got a solid 24 points and nine rebounds from Andrew Nicholson but UMass proved to be too much down the stretch with the hosts connecting on 57.1 percent of their field goals in the second half. The Minutemen began the period on a 14-0 surge and ripped off a back-breaking 17-2 run late in the game to wrap things up. Chris Johnson came up with 14 points off the bench for St. Bonaventure, which shot 42.9 percent from the floor and 2-for-16 from three-point range in falling to 5-4 in the A-10.
Duquesne has captured the last two meetings after beating the Bonnies, 66-52, January 7 in Pittsburgh. However, the last time these two met at the Reilly Center February 5 of last season St. Bonaventure got a last-second shot from Mike Davenport to snap the Dukes' 11-game win streak and hand them their first A-10 loss of the year. Duquesne still leads the overall series, 57-50.
The Dukes are normally one of the league's better offensive teams, sitting third in the A-10 in scoring at 75.0 ppg and hitting on an above average 46.0 percent of their field goals. The defense, however, does leave something to be desired, slotting in second from the bottom in conference play in points allowed (71.5 ppg) while owning the league's third-worst field-goal percentage defense (45.6 percent). Johnson and B.J. Monteiro are at the head of the Dukes' offense, averaging 15.1 and 14.6 ppg, respectively. Meanwhile, McConnell gives Duquesne a third legit double-digit scorer at 12.0 ppg and ranks fourth in the A-10 in assists with 5.7 per contest. The talented sophomore also leads the team in field-goal percentage (53.5 percent) and adds 4.3 rebounds per outing, third on the team to Monteiro's 5.4 boards and Andre Marhold's 4.4 rpg. Evans adds further scoring depth with a 9.9-point average. Overall, Duquesne could use some help on the glass, giving up 37.6 caroms per game while grabbing just 31.7 themselves. The margin serves as the worst in the conference at minus-5.8.
The Bonnies are led by the senior Nicholson, who stands among the league leaders in a number of categories at 15.4 points per game, 7.1 rebounds and a 55.5 shooting percentage. Junior Demitrius Conger backs that effort with solid numbers of his own with a 12.1-point scoring average, 5.4 boards and a 53.1 field-goal percentage. However, the pair tend to carry the team with Da'Quan Cook and Matthew Wright's matching 7.7-point averages next in line. Overall, St. Bonaventure scores 68.0 ppg on an efficient 45.2 percent shooting while the defense buckles down to permit a stingy 64.0 ppg and a 41.5 shooting percentage. One area of excellence for the Bonnies is on the glass where they own the conference's top rebounding margin at plus-4.1 (34.3-30.2). Cook grabs 5.1 rpg to help prop up that number.
Duquesne's offensive talent and depth is evident but the defense needs to tighten if it wants to step forward in A-10 play. St. Bonaventure doesn't light the world on fire with its offense, but its efficient enough to make this a close game right to the end.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Duquesne 74, St. Bonaventure 72
02/11 10:36:31 ET