With their recent road win over George Mason, the Dukes finished 10th in the Atlantic 10. They earned a matchup with No. 7 Richmond at the Barclays Center tonight in Brooklyn. Here are seven keys to a Red & Blue victory.
1. Play a full 40 minutes
The Dukes need to be ready to commit to all 40 minutes of the game. They competed with St. Louis in their first meeting but couldn’t finish off the Billikens in the final seconds at Palumbo. They led Dayton by 18 points at halftime on Feb. 22 at the Consol Energy Center, but scored only 15 second-half points and lost 57-54. They can’t play as they have all season and come out a different team after halftime. With a full regular season now under its belt, this team needs to piece together a complete game on both ends of the floor to compete with the Spiders and advance to the next round.
2. Jerry Jones
The sixth man of the Duquesne basketball team needs to come off of the bench and blow up the scoreboard. He’s been a key contributor both as a scorer and rebounder for the Dukes thus far this season. At 6-foot-4, he can play and defend three different positions on the court. Time has shown in the 2013-2014 season that when Jerry plays well, the rest of the Dukes seem to follow suit, something they’ll need to do. Also needed from Jones? Relief on the bench. At the win against George Mason on Saturday he kept the bench in good spirits, necessary in high profile games.
3. Fight through the tough stretches
The Dukes need to start out by dominating the game and hold onto the momentum. When they’re playing well, the Dukes make it look easy. The problem is when they start to struggle, they stay cold for long stretches at a time. If the Red & Blue control the game, they move onto Friday.
4. Score 80 points
The Dukes are successful when they visit the 80-point neighborhood. In games in which they’ve scored at least 80, they’ve only lost two games all year. It may seem simple, but it is a clear indicator that the offense is clicking and shots are falling. When the Dukes are playing well, they put up points
5. Micah Mason
The Pittsburgh kid knocked down 57 percent of his 3-point attempts this season to lead the nation in his first year on the Bluff. For some perspective, the next best shooter (Melvin Johnson III, Arkansas St.) netted only 49.1 percent. Finding Mason open behind the arc will be crucial for the Dukes to advance.
6. Prepare for Kendall Anthony
The 5-foot-8 guard averaged 16 points-per-game this season, pumping in 20 points against the Dukes in a 75-58 loss on Feb. 27. He is the only player on the Spiders’ roster still playing who has averaged double digits in the scoring column this year. If they can control his scoring, they willl control the game and momentum the Dukes will advance to play on Friday.
7. The Others
Here’s the thing: At this point, it’s safe to say that Soko and Mason will bring their best games to the court. But in order for the Dukes to advance, the other guys are going to have to show up. A team led by Soko and Mason can win games. A team led by Soko, Mason, McCoy, Colter and gang is dangerous.