By Joseph Sykes | Sports Editor
The Duquesne men’s basketball team currently owns a record of 10-4 nearly halfway through the 2015-16 season, which is something to marvel at if you’ve been following the Red & Blue the past few years. However, with injuries to starting seniors Micah Mason and Jeremiah Jones, the Dukes over winter break, the Dukes are in turmoil.
The first half of the season saw Duquesne roll over nearly everyone of their opponents with the exception of Pitt and Pepperdine. With an 89-70 win over UMBC Dec. 8, the club was off to its best start since the 1979-80 season; however, the team recently dropped two straight games – one to Georgia Tech and the other to Dayton, which was the first conference matchup of the year.
The midseason losing streak is nothing in comparison to the devastating news concerning senior captain Jones. Jones suffered a torn ACL in his squad’s Dec. 19 victory over Robert Morris. The Gary, Indiana, native was injured after attempting a layup in the second half against the Colonials.
“I’m extremely disappointed for Jeremiah,” head coach Jim Ferry said in a press release. “He’s been a vital part, if not the most vital part, of the transformation process this program has undergone. I know without a doubt, that the same leadership and mental toughness he has shown since day one, will get him through this.”
The Dukes will miss Jones’ presence on the court as he was their third leading scorer, averaging just under 10 points per game.
“What happened is unfortunate, but everything happens for a reason,” Jones said in the release. “We talk about adversity all the time as a team, and I’ve just hit a bump in the road. I won’t let this injury affect myself or the team.”
Jones wasn’t the only starter to miss time over break due to injury. Fellow senior Mason hurt his ankle against Georgia Tech in the first half of the loss, which meant he would sidelined him against Dayton.
Conference play will be a true test for the Dukes – a team that went 6-12 in the Atlantic 10 last year and 5-11 the year before. Jones’ absence will be noticed each game, but there could be a way to use it as motivation, which they’ll need plenty of if they wish to go at least .500 in conference play this year.