DUQUESNE vs. ABILENE CHRISTIAN
It's gameday again, friends.
Duquesne hosts Abilene Christian in a 2 p.m. tip Saturday at the A.J. Palumbo Center on the Bluff. I'd typically have a recap up right at the final buzzer, but I'll be in Morgantown covering WVU/Texas today and won't be covering this game. Fire away in the comments section and follow on Twitter at both @dukespg and @stephenjnesbitt for more frequent updates through the day.
Matchup: Duquesne (0-0) vs. Abilene Christian (0-0), 2 p.m. today, A.J. Palumbo Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Radio, Internet: WPGB-FM 104.7, RedZoneMedia.com, GoDuquesne.com.
Duquesne: The Dukes return just three scholarship players and two starters. … Duquesne is 75-4 when opening the season at home. … Dukes outscored Clarion, 72-32, in the paint in a 103-88 exhibition win last week.
Abilene Christian: Wildcats have 11 newcomers, including eight junior-college transfers. … Only returning player, Parker Wentz, averaged 8.3 points per game last season. … Abilene is in its first year in the Southland Conference and their first Division-I season since 1973.
Hidden stat: Duquesne guard Micah Mason shot over 50 percent from 3-point range (40 of 79, .506) as a freshman at Drake University last season.
[AFTER THE CLICK: THREE KEYS]
• Start fast, stay fast: Duquesne coach Jim Ferry has twiced used the expression this year: "Catch us if you can." The Dukes want to run this year ... and run and run. Duquesne is dedicated to a transition game, and it'll keep them well afloat, especially in this non-conference season. The Dukes will debut nine newcomers today, Abilene Christian will debut 11. If guards Derrick Colter and Tra'Vaughn White can keep the transition game fast, the Dukes should cruise easily past the Wildcats.
• Work inside-out: With the strong inside play of forwards Ovie Soko and Dominique McKoy, that's where the offense needs to start and revolve around. With defenses focused on the play in the paint, the forwards can create another dimension to the offense by jetting the ball back out to the perimeter to guards like Micah Mason, a deadeye 3-point shooter. The Dukes don't want to be a team fully dependent on the three, but it'll serve as a major complement to the inside play should this all work out as planned.
• Take care of the ball: This is pretty simple: the key to a swift transition game is to limit turnovers. Freshman guard Desmond Ridenour led the sloppiness with seven turnovers in the exhibition opener, a 103-88 victory over Clarion. Colter, the starter, looked strong with the ball and should be improved in ball-handling and in the turnover margin this fall.
That's it. Enjoy, folks!