Saúl Berríos-Thomas | Layout Editor
The Dukes pulled off a colossal upset on Saturday afternon at the Consol Energy Center by defeating the second-best team in the Atlantic 10, the Dayton Flyers, 83-73. The Dukes improved to 9-16 and 4-10 in the A-10, while Dayton dropped to 20-6 and 10-4 in the A-10.
Head coach Jim Ferry was excited about the win.
“I think that was the best basketball game that we have played this season,” he said. “We know we have been getting better, and I think it showed tonight.”
Junior forward Jeremiah Jones echoed those sentiments, that the Dukes are starting to piece it together across the roster.
“We are a better team right now,” he said. “We are staring to gel.”
The Dukes got off to a sluggish start. They did not find the bottom of the net until the 16:41 mark of the first half. Junior guard Derrick Colter got the Dukes on the board with a 3-pointer and it was his offense that sparked the Dukes the rest of the way.
The Red & Blue trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half. But with 12:34 to go in the first half, the Dukes went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to just one. From that point on, the lead teetered back and forth as both teams exchanged haymakers. There were 10 lead changes in the first half alone. Colter finished the half with 13 points.
The Dukes started the second half aggressively, something they have failed to do many times this season, and took control of the lead. They only relinquished it once for 15 seconds, before closing out the game with a 10-point lead.
The Flyers continued to hoist up three-point attempts and finished with a season-high 33 attempts. They were unable to convert at their season average of .357, which is third best in the A-10. The finished the game at 33.3 percent from beyond the arc.
With about a minute left in the second half, the Dukes were up by eight and the Flyers fouled to try to extend the game. The Dukes closed out the game by going 4-of-4 from the free throw line in the last minute, to seal the victory.
Colter and junior guard Micah Mason each played every minute of the game. With Jordan Stevens “suspended indefinitely,” according to Ferry, Ferry was reluctant to take Mason and Colter off of the court because they both played so well.
“Certainly if those guys continue to play the way they played tonight, they’ll be on the floor as long as they want. I just thought they played so well tonight,” Ferry said.
Colter finished the game with a team-high 25 points, making him the 38th player in Duquesne history to eclipse 1,000 points for his career. He added three assists and three rebounds.
Colter was humble about his accomplishment.
“It was a good win. I just wanted the win, I didn’t really care about the 1,000 points,” he said.
Mason was able to contribute 17 points as well. He was 5-of-12 from the field and tied a career-high with nine assists.
The Dukes are now 4-6 in conference play when they have more than one player score double figures and 0-4 when they don’t. Against Dayton they had five players finish in double figures, the most since their overtime loss to St. Bonaventure on Jan. 22.
Mason’s 17 and Colter’s 25 were the two highest point totals on the team. Senior forward Dominique McKoy had 11, Jones had 10 and sophomore forward L.G. Gill added 10 off the bench.
McKoy had nine rebounds, five assists and three steals. Gill had five boards and was only given credit for one of his two blocks in his 28 minutes.
Leading the way for the Flyers was Dyshawn Pierre with 27 points. Pierre added 12 a game-high 12 rebounds and two blocks.
The Dukes will host Saint Louis Wednesday night at the Palumbo Center before heading out on a two game road trip.
Assistant coach John Rhodes was notably absent form the sideline for the Dukes on Saturday.
“John was diagnosed with cancer about three weeks ago,” Ferry said. “He was set to start treatment this week … when we got to Philadelphia the other day, crossing a street, John was struck by a car. He had emergency surgery on Tuesday night. He is doing better. He is out of ICU, but is scheduled to have surgery again on Monday.”
“As everybody in this room knows with Big John, he is probably the most positive person out there. He is more positive about it to us then we are to him,” he said.
“He’s going to beat it all.”