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Jim Ferry, Dukes prepare to face upstart Colonials in D.C.

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

Duquesne coach Jim Ferry joined the Atlantic 10 teleconference Monday morning to preview the Dukes' (10-10, 2-5 Atlantic 10) Wednesday night matchup against George Washington (17-4, 5-2). 

Opening statement ...

"We had our last non-conference game at NJIT Wednesday night. Came out a little flat. Whether it was guys being so focused on the league [games] or whatnot, we got behind and had to ride it out and make some plays down the stretch to win the game -- which was great. We continued on the road, stayed on the road with all the travel problems in this weather we just stayed out. We went right to Philly. I thought we came out real aggressive against La Salle. Played well at times, but didn't play well enough to beat them there. For the first time in a long time, we didn't shoot very well from the field. La Salle did a very good job defending us. I think we shot 35 percent; in our last five games or so we've been shooting around 50 percent from the field. Didn't get to the free-throw line as much as we usually do. We pride ourselves in making more free throws than our opponents even attempt, and La Salle beat us at that part of the game, which doesn't happen very often to us. Tough game. We broke down defensively a little bit and allowed them to get into the lane. We just did not play well enough to win on the road. I thought we played hard enough; we just didn't play well enough to beat a good La Salle team who had just lost three in a row, so there was a sense of urgency on their part. Again, we're still a team that is a work in progress as we get into the second of the league here. Our emphasis is defending better, and we actually defended pretty well against La Salle, except we got hurt on the glass. Held them to 38 percent from the field and 25 from three. But we got beat on the glass and beat on the foul line. We've got to continue to focus on getting better. Obviously, it'll be a tough challenge to go on the road at George Washington, who is having a fantastic year and is playing with such great confidence. They're obviously a very well-coached team, and it's a big challenge for us. Every game is, and we're taking it one game at a time right now."

On whether Duquesne staying stride-for-stride in first halves but falling behind in last 10 minutes or so is a product of having a young team still learning to finish ...

"I think so. I think that's part of it. The lack of depth in the frontcourt has hurt us at times. We have to play Ovie [Soko] and Domo [McKoy] so many minutes because of injury [or ineligibility] in the frontcourt, and then really true freshmen playing in the frontcourt, one of which still isn't physically ready, but he's doing the best he can in Isaiah Watkins. And then just the inconsistency and our youth. And sustaining -- when you're a good team, you're able to sustain and finish. That's obviously been an issue for us at times. I think it's more on the defensive side than it is the offensive side."

On how to keep up with George Washington, who is 10-0 at home ...

"They're a fantastic team. They're holding teams to about 65 points per game. They're so big at every single position. Their 1-3-1 has bothered a lot of people. We've got to go in and try to get the game at our tempo, try to play fast and aggressive. But they're scoring close to 75 points per game. It's going to be a challenge. We have to continue to play unselfishly offensively, and then we've got to figure out how we can compete on the glass with these guys. They're so big; they're so physical; they use their size and length in all aspects of the game, both offensively and defensively. Ourselves, being a little bit smaller, it's going to be a challenge. We've got to use our quickness and aggressiveness to get the game close to our tempo."

On whether it's a pick-your-poison scenario, given GW's rebounding, defense and balanced scoring ...

"We're still in the process of putting our game plan together on how to attack them. Again, when you've got a team that's only lost four games all year, and five guys averaging double figures -- almost six -- their confidence level is really high. They were without three starters in the Dayton game and almost won that basketball game. That's a credit to their program; their starting backcourt was out and they just kept making plays. Their frontcourt is fantastic. Their guards ... that kid [Patricio] Garino is such a unique basketball player. We've got to attack them with our aggressiveness and our speed. We also have really got to make sure we take care of the basketball and take good shots. We've got to score against these guys in the quarter-court to be able to beat them."

On George Washington's 1-3-1 ...

"They're frickin' enormous, man. They're enormous. You put Garino at the top of that, and they extend it, keep you off-balance very much so you don't know when the traps are coming or from where they're coming. They're really long; they're really physical. And, you know what, they play really hard in it. I think Mike [Lonergan] has done a great job of getting that team to really know who they are and what they are, both offensively and defensively. And they play that way. That zone is a big part of it. They go 2-3 out of bounds, and in a possession they'll change it up a little to a 1-3-1. They keep you off-balance. They're big and long; I think that's a perfect team to play a 1-3-1 zone with, since they're so long at every position."

On difficulty of playing not knowing if their starters will be back ...

"They almost beat Dayton at Dayton with all those guys out, so I'm going to prepare the same way. We're going to prepare as if Joe [McDonald] and Maurice [Creek] are playing, and we'll make any type of adjustments if not. They're still a very, very good basketball team. They're a team; that's what makes them very difficult to beat. They just have guys that are going to step up and make some plays."


Stephen J. Nesbitt: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.

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