Dukes fall again in non-conference play

Saúl Berríos-Thomas | Layout Editor

In Sunday’s matchup against the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the Dukes were plagued by many of the same issues that have hampered them all season. Despite some improvements on the offensive end, the Dukes fell to UMES 78-69.

The Hawks improved to 7-8, while the Dukes fell to 4-6 and lost their third game of the year at the Palumbo Center.

Head coach Jim Ferry thought his team played hard, despite the final score.

“I though it was a really hard fought game. I thought our guys played really hard tonight. They really shot the heck out of it in the first half,” he said.

The Dukes trailed most of the first half but made several runs at the lead, shooting just under 52 percent from the field in the first half. They headed into the locker room at halftime down 45-38.

The Red & Blue clawed their way back into the game when they switched back to the man-to-man defense in the second half. They went on a 10-0 run at 14:17 mark of the second half and cut the Hawks’ lead to just two. But the Hawks managed back-to-back stops and scores, which killed the Dukes’ momentum and brought the lead back to a comfortable margin for the Hawks.

The Dukes held the lead twice in the game – both in the game’s first three minutes. After losing a 6-5 lead just under four minutes into the first half, the Dukes trailed the rest of the way. They were able to force 13 turnovers, but they were unable to convert the extra possessions into points, scoring only 14 points off turnovers.

Ferry was disappointed with the team’s inability to convert.

“Missing a bunch of threes and wide open layups really hurt us,” he said. “We have to make plays.”

The Dukes struggled to get to the line, and when they got there they continued to struggle. They attempted seven free throws and converted only four of them.

Ferry think the answer is right in front of them.

“The more touches, the driving and the offensive rebounding will get us to the line,” he said.

Leading the Dukes in scoring were junior guards Micah Mason and Derrick Colter. Mason finished with 16 points on 4-of-9 shooting from 3-point range, while Colter added 15 points and seven assists.

Sophomore forward Darius Lewis got hot early converting his first two baskets, but was subbed out soon after and didn’t see any extended minutes after that.

Freshman forward Jordan Robinson also added an interior spark off the bench, with four points and four rebounds. When the Dukes played in the paint they had success, but they didn’t get the ball inside very often.

Colter felt like this was the perfect opportunity to use the post.

“Their big guy [Michael Myers] didn’t play defense. He would just put his hands up and let them go to work. We have to get the ball in to them more so they can keep up the offensive scoring for us,” he said.

Ferry agreed and also complained about a foul call.

“They crowded a little bit. Robinson we tried going back in and one time we got a post up foul, which I don’t know how that happens,” he said.

Leading the way for the Hawks was 6-foot-9 senior forward Michael Myers, who poured in 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.

“He was a grown man,” Ferry said.

The Dukes would like to be winning the same way the Hawks won this game, with interior scoring, 3-point shooting and a solid effort at the foul line. The Hawks and the Dukes both made 28 baskets in the game, but the difference lies in 3-pointers and free throws. The Hawks finished 9-of-15 from 3-point range to go with 13-of-19 shooting from the foul line. The Dukes, on the other hand, shot 9-of-26 from beyond the arc and only logged seven foul shots.

Ferry thinks they should be winning games the way the Hawks won on Sunday.

“My teams, we normally win games with this formula that [the Hawks] won it with tonight,” he said.

Next up for the Dukes is a Tuesday night matchup against Texas-Pan American at 7 p.m. at the Palumbo Center.