Joey Sykes | The Duquesne Duke
The Duquesne men’s basketball team sent a strong message to its future opponents Saturday afternoon after a thunderous offensive showing against Clarion in an exhibition match, defeating the Golden Eagles 103-88.
Senior Ovie Soko, a transfer from University of Alabama at Birmingham, made his presence known early in the game against the Golden Eagles. Assisted by sophomore forward Jeremiah Jones, Soko slammed one home on the game’s first play. The London-born forward had 17 points and 2 assists in his debut for Duquesne.
The Red and Blue were on top for most of the first half and at one point led by 25 points. In the second half, Clarion narrowly outscored the Dukes 53-48.
The Dukes, who put up 100 points for the first time since Nov. 27, 2010, looked impressive on the offensive side of the ball. They showed strong inside play with 72 of their 103 points coming from the paint. The team was only 3-13 in 3-point attempts while Clarion sank 12 of their 35.
Jones stressed that three point shooting is going to be a little more uncommon than it was last year.
“We’re not taking the three completely out of the game,” Jones said. “We definitely will shoot the three because as we play better teams, we’re going to have to see those kick outs because we’re playing against bigger guys and things like that, but we definitely don’t want to rely on the three. We think we did a better job of penetrating.”
Soko agreed with the idea that inside play is going to be very crucial to the team’s success this year.
“Anytime you can pound it inside, that works,” Soko said. “You want to put as many easy buckets inside as you can to limit outside shooting because when you don’t put as much pressure on your perimeter players to hit those shots, they end up making a higher percentage.”
Coach Jim Ferry is ready to begin his second year here at Duquesne after coaching at the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University. Ferry is looking to his new older acquisitions, particularly junior Dominique McKoy, to bring chemistry to a young team.
“We had to bring in so many different pieces and we couldn’t just go with all young kids,” Ferry said. “Domo’s [McKoy] got that sense of maturity to him. He’s a little bit older and we needed that. He’s versatile, he’s a forward that can dribble the basketball and those are hard to find and they’re good to have.”
Ferry believes that this team is trying hard to improve from last year’s disappointing 8-22 record. This new look for the Dukes bring is promising, according the second-year head coach.
“Not to dwell on last year, but we didn’t have forwards like this that could really catch the ball on the move but we do now,” Ferry said.” Last year we had such limits offensively. We’re significantly different than last year.”
Duquesne is still waiting to hear whether newly acquired guard Micah Mason will be eligible to play this year. Mason, Pittsburgh native who transferred from Drake University, may be eligible to compete this year instead of taking a year off.
The Dukes will hope to repeat their offensive success next Saturday when they take on Abilene Christian University at 2 p.m. at Palumbo in their first regular season matchup of the year.
FYI the last time Duquesne scored over 100 points was 12/31/11against Houston Baptist, where the Dukes scored 118.