Wow, what is not to like about this Duquense win tonight?
The Dukes didn’t shoot well.
They didn’t always play well but they found a way to beat West Virginia, 60-56, at the Consol Center to give Jim Ferry his first signature win.
This win wasn’t about jumpers and crossovers though – it was about heart, toughness, character – all the things coaches talk about that many fans too often dismiss as being coachspeak.
But Jim Ferry wants to build this program on a foundation of three simple things – well really five – defense and toughness, rebounding, free throws and turnovers.
Sounds simplistic – but he has won a lot of games using that philosophy as his feeling is:
(a) If you outrebound your opponent, you are limiting their possessions and second-chance points and thus finishing your defensive possessions the right way and giving yourself extra opportunities to score.
(b) If you shoot more free throws than the opponent, it means you are being aggressive and making the other team foul you, it means you are stealing points at the line with the clock stopped and it means that you aren’t giving your opponent free points. It also means you are likely getting some of the other team’s players in foul trouble and that makes the game easier for you to win.
(C) And turnovers speak for themselves – you protect your possessions and take possessions from your opponent.
Again, simplistic yet -- I’m not sure if there are numbers that exist but I would be willing to bet this – the winning percentage of teams who win the battle of rebounds, turnovers and free throws has to be overwhelmingly high – like more than 80 percent.
Tonight the Dukes won in two of the three categories – rebounding and free throws – and while they turned it over more than the Mountaineers, they actually had relatively low turnover day (14 total)and that’s a big reason they were able to win despite shooting just 3-of-19 from the 3-point line.
Look, this team is not very talented right now, they are undermanned, they need a lot of help – but the fact that they are 6-4 speaks volumes about how much they have bought into the philosophy of being tougher than their opponents and fighting hard every game.
There will be nights they get blown out or don’t compete simply because they are undermanned, but this team is gonna be fun to watch because I think they are well coached and the three young kids are fearless, especially Derrick Colter who made some huge plays down the stretch.
Next up is Robert Morris and it won’t shock me if the Dukes struggle in that game – but if they can find a way to duplicate what they did tonight effort-wise, they will clearly have a chance to win that game, and just about any game they play.