By Colin Dunlap | Noon, Sunday
Made it here to the Palumbo and wanted to check in. Just to let you know, on game days, for each game, I will be doing a running thread. Sometimes it will get updated a bunch of times, sometimes a few times, but I will have a game day thread for every single game that I attend (which from here on out will be just about all of them).
At times -- and this seems strange -- I forget that I still have to produce content for the newspaper, you know, that thing you pick up at the store or they throw onto your driveway. But, with games that tip off in the day, I can pay a little bit more attention to the blog. Conversely, with a late tip off, the blog postings on game days might be a little thinner -- and that is where I might lean on you to carry it a little more with some comments.
Anyhow, I have made it down here to the Palumbo.
Wanted to share a shot from the BlackBerry. There's just something tremendously peaceful about an empty gym waiting in anticipation:
12:23 p.m.: Sports Information Directors churn through all these numbers, piece together all these tidbits of information, and roll through all kinds of, well, information, in an effort to make our lives easier and get some publicity for their respective schools. What they do is never lost on me. There are all kinds of obscure stats in game notes all the time, but looking at Radford's game notes, something very obvious jumped out, something not obscure at all -- the Highlanders' schedule. Consider this: Coach Brad Greenberg has already taken his team to Duke this season and still has trips to Kansas and Louisville on the schedule. If you want to get better, you have to play the best -- and Radford is evidence of as much.
1:05 p.m.: Players from both teams out on the floor, shooting around. With covering so much football, it is strange to be in a gym again, but a welcomed distraction at this time of year. And, try as I might, I can't totally get away from football --- I have a conference call with West Virginia coach Bill Stewart at 1:30 that I need to jump on before hustling back to court side for tip off.
2:03 p.m.: Alright...starters as-is, as expected. Ready to go.
2:07 p.m.: Quite obvious the Dukes want to run Radford's legs off -- and are doing a decent job of such early on. Monteiro has four early points in the up and down game and Duquesne is ahead 7-2 at the 16:51 mark. It is glaring that while Parakhouski is a talent, he is more comfortable in the half-court.
2:12 p.m.: First media timeout, Duquesne ahead, 9-2 with 15:50 remaining before halftime. Radford is 1 for 9 from the floor ... ouch.
2:20 p.m.: Damian Saunders -- giving away four inches -- is doing an admirable job on Parakhouski. In the first 8:52, the big kid from Belarus has just 3 points and 5 rebounds and is 1 for 4 from the floor. It has been Saunders' ability to beat him back down the floor, establish position and make him uncomfortable that has led to the poor numbers.
2:24 p.m.: Big body Oliver Lewinson is in the game for the Dukes to provide some depth in the frontcourt. Doing a decent job thusfar and if he can give some good minutes -- at 6-9 -- that could serve this team tremendously well.
2:29 p.m.: At the next-to-last media timeout, the Dukes are ahead, 17-13. With Lewinson in the game, he is playing fairly well on defensive, but the offensive looks a bit stalled, a bit slowed and more deliberate, probably not what Everhart wants in the long run.
2:33 p.m.: Trouble for the Dukes. Parakhouski is beginning to catch the basketball far too low on the offensive end, pulling in entry passes no more than 5 feet from the bucket. He's scored the last two baskets and, frankly for the Dukes, they have been waaaaaay to easy. Tied 17-17 with 5 minutes to go before the half.
2:39 p.m.: Tom Pipkins is sitting behind the Dukes' bench wearing a James Harrison Steelers jersey (if you look REALLY closely at this picture, you can see it). Just thought I'd point that out.
Oh, and it is tied, 19-19 with just over 3 minutes before the half.
2:46 p.m.: Dukes just climbed back on top, 26-21 at the half. While Eric Evans is having a very solid day defensively, he is struggling, mightily, on offense. That is one thing that has hurt Duquesne a tad in the first half. Again, though, he has played very well on defense. As expected, it looks as if everything for Radford needs to run through Parakhouski for the Highlanders to have success. he has 10 of their 21 points and 13 of their 26 rebounds. Quite literally, he is half their team.
3:08 p.m.: Defense-leading-to-offense is a wonderful thing for the Dukes, and something they need to hang their collective hats on. Damian Saunders just blocked Parakhouski -- cleanly, very cleanly -- grabbed the ball, pushed it ahead and hit B.J. Monteiro on a very nice pass to put the Dukes in front, 35-27. It forced Radford to call a timeout and is the kind of up-tempo style Duquesne needs to play against this team.
3:13 p.m.: The big kid from Belarus just stepped out and knocked down a 3 from the top of the key, giving him 17 points. If he can stretch a defense like that....wow. Again, though, as I wrote in my pregame blog post, he is going to get his, everyone knows that.
3:21 p.m.: Dukes on a nice little run right here. Up 43-38.
3:27 p.m.: A rule change you need to be aware of. Radford's Blake Smith banged his head on the floor as he was in the act of shooting and couldn't shoot the free throws. You might ask, why did Parakhouski -- at 6-11 -- go and shoot them for him? Well, a new rule this season: No longer does the shooting team pick who takes the shots when the personal fouled is unable, rather, the non-shooting team picks the designate. Moot point this time -- the big guy from Belarus made them both.
3:33 p.m.: Radford's 7-0 run has drawn them within 50-45. The Dukes would do well to get to the under-8 media timeout leading by this many. Parakhouski has 20 points (7 at the line) and 15 boards right now. Seriously, this Radford team is as one-dimensional as any I have seen in a long time.
3:38 p.m.: B.J. Monteiro's 19 points -- which he has 7:29 to add to with the Dukes up 54-47 -- is a career high for him. I say he gets at least 23.
3:41 p.m.: Serious trouble for the Highlanders now. Joey Lynch-Flohr, the 6-foot-8 guy who complements Parakhouski, has fouled out. The Dukes, up 56-51 with 5:50 left, would seem to have a fairly big advantage right now if they can make a free throw or two -- which is not a certainty. They are 13 for 26 right now.
3:49 p.m.: B.J. Monteiro just had a nice put back. I am saying this one is in the bag. Dukes up by 10 with 2:42 left. Even with the unsteady free throw shooting, I find it hard to believe they can fritter this one away.
4:02 p.m.: Game. Set. Match. 71-63.