Late-season slump knocks Dukes into CBI
Despite a late-season slump, Duquesne snared an invitation to play in the College Basketball Invitational, extending its postseason streak to three consecutive years.
The Dukes, who lost in the NIT two years ago, will be playing in the CBI for a second year in a row when they open at Montana on March 16.
The winner will play the winner of the first-round game between Weber State and Oregon.
The Dukes, who finished with an 18-12 record after losing seven of their last nine games, lost out on a NIT bid when that tourney had to fill an unusual number of slots for “automatic” qualifiers.
By rule, any team that wins the regular-season title in a conference that has an automatic berth in the NCAA field but doesn’t qualify for NCAA Tournament gets a spot in the 32-team NIT field.
The usual number has been eight. The year, 14 such teams ate up spots.
at Montana, March 16, 2011
CBI first round
Key Matchups: Montana has three players averaging in double figures, topped by Brian Qvale (14.9 ppg). He shot 62.5 from the field for the season. Derek Selvig (10.2 ppg) is a 3-point threat (39.6 percent from behind the arc), but he had 78 turnovers to go with his 94 assists. Will Cherry (122 assists) took better care of the basketball with only 61 turnovers.
Scouting Report: The Dukes were doing it with defense when they were winning with freshman G T.J. McConnell and senior G/F Damian Saunders combining for 153 steals for the season. Senior F/G Bill Clark leads the Dukes in scoring (16.3 ppg) and is second in rebounding. He averaged 6.3 rpg to Saunders’ 7.9 mark.
Keys To Victory: The Dukes need to get their confidence back after their late-season slump. The big scoring runs predicated by their defense have begun to dry up over the last month. Their 3-point shooting also has deserted them, though they ended up at 35.4 percent for the season.
Quote To Note: “It was a great experience to play in the A-10 playoffs. I just think we need to do a better job.”—Sophomore Sean Johnson, in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, after the loss to St. Joseph’s in the A-10 tourney quarterfinals.
- Duquesne lost to Princeton last year in its first appearance in the CBI. The Dukes will be making their 24th postseason appearance—five NCAA, 17 NIT, and the two CBI.
- Duquesne and Montana will be meeting for the first time when they play in the CBI.
- Senior F/G Bill Clark will go into the CBI needing 13 points to pass Sihugo Green for the No. 7 spot on Duquesne’s all-time scoring list. Clark scored 18 against St. Joe’s in the A-10 tourney quarterfinals to raise his career total to 1,593 points.
- Freshman G T.J. McConnell, the A-10 Rookie of the Year, set a conference freshman record for steals by coming up with five against St. Joe’s, raising his season total to 87. He enters the NIT two short of the school single-season mark that senior G/F Damian Saunders set just last year.
COACH: Ron Everhart, five years at Duquesne, three years in the postseason (two CBI).