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Jim Ferry recaps a frantic week, gives final word on Robinson

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

Duquesne coach Jim Ferry joined the Atlantic 10 coaches teleconference Monday morning, two days after a thrilling buzzer-beating win against St. Bonaventure, to provide his insights on a few topics.

Opening statement ...

"I think we've been playing significantly better since the St. Joe's game. We went down and really competed well and played hard against VCU, and then this week I felt we really played well. Against Saint Louis I thought we played maybe our best game of the year. I thought we defended them well and really executed well. I think they're one of the best defensive teams in the country -- if not the best -- and we were able to shoot 50 percent from the field and score 72 points against them. We actually had two shots to win that basketball game, down one with under 30 seconds to go, and we missed some tough layups. They're a tough team to beat. I thought they played with just unbelievable poise, as a senior-laden team that has won championships usually do. We couldn't rattle them. It was a tough loss for us; our kids really took that one hard. We had to bounce back quickly against a really good St. Bonaventure team that had just played well and beaten La Salle. I thought that was just a great college basketball game. That's easy for me to say; I'm sure Schmitty [Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt] doesn't feel as great. The kids made plays all over the court for both teams. It was just an exciting basketball game. We had two free throws to tie the game or go up one with Derrick Colter, who is shooting like 75 percent from the foul line, and he missed both free throws. The kid was devastated, but we work on situations every day in practice, and the kids really reacted well. They stayed true to form and kept believing. St. Bonaventure missed two free throws. We executed the play we had practiced for Derrick, and he made a spectacular basket at the buzzer. It was a great win for us. It was needed, because we'd been playing well but just hadn't been able to get over the hump. It was a great win for us, and now we've got to just focus on getting better. More so, we have to get better defensively; we're not defending in Atlantic 10 play to the level we need to in order to win. Obviously, this league is a beast and there are some great players, but our defensive field-goal percentage is way too high. We have been competing on the glass better; we've out-rebounded our opponents the last two games, which is vital for us to have success. We've just to keep focused and keep getting better defensively to make sure we're ready for the tournament.

On what this dramatic win can do for a team's mindset ...

"You hope it increases the team's confidence. This game is so fragile. We were 3.8 seconds away from losing five in a row, and now everybody is excited because Derrick's shot is on ESPN, and you win a game. It's so fragile because now there's a confidence level with the kids that they kept fighting, played really well at VCU and played great against Saint Louis and play well against St. Bonaventure. Now you win one like this and you hope it increases the confidence level. But more importantly, as a coach you hope the kids learn that the game is never over and why we do all the situations late in practice every day. You hope everybody understands that it's such a long season and we've got to focus on getting better. But in the short term, obviously, the confidence you get from winning this game ... what a turnaround for a kid; Derrick Colter misses those two free throws, and he's devastated, But what a lot of people don't realize is that his mindset to go foul right away when he missed that free throw gave us a chance to win that game. We all felt bad for Derrick at that point in the game. Here's a kid who is in the gym every single day; New Year's Eve, 11 o'clock at night the kid's in the gym working on his free throws, shooting jump shots. When he missed the free throws, my first thought was, 'Oh man, I've got to make sure I go hug this kid at the end of the game if we don't win it.' And then we have a chance and he makes the basket, so I think everybody felt great for him, and I think the team feels good that we're headed in the right direction. 

On what's working on offense ...

"I think we're playing really unselfishly. We're sharing the basketball. Our spacing has been great. I think we've tightened up our execution. And a big key has been we've out-rebounded our last two opponents, and that's something we always talk about, because we can play so quickly in transition if we can rebound the basketball in this league. I think some of those easy baskets are now putting pressure on people. And, obviously, it's our ability to have five scorers on the floor at the same time. When we understand how to play the right way, and when we do play the right way -- unselfishly, with ball movement and player movement -- we can be difficult to guard. It's the defensive side of the ball that we have to get significantly better at quickly for us to really compete in this league.

Any update on Jordan Robinson?

"You know what? There is.

Hallelujah, finally.

"Yeah, and it's not good for the Dukes. Jordan is going to sit out this year. He's on scholarship. He's in school. He is not able to practice, and he is not able to compete. ... What do you want to call it, a partial? I guess, because he's able to keep his scholarship. It's disappointing, real disappointing, but he's taken it well. He'll have four years of eligibility after this."


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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About the Sabres - 01-27-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Sabres.

When and where: 7:30 p.m. EST. Consol Energy Center.

TV: Root Sports (Pittsburgh market), NBC Sports (rest of the United States), TSN, RDS.

Record: 14-29-7, 35 points. The Sabres are in last place in the Atlantic Division.

Leading Scorer: Cody Hodgson, 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists).

Last Game: 5-2 road win against the Blue Jackets, Saturday. Christian Ehrhoff had a goal and two assists for the Sabres.

Last Game against the Penguins: 4-1 road loss, Oct. 5. Jhonas Enroth made 31 saves for the Sabres.

Sabres Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Steve Ott. He has points in three consecutive games.

Ex-Penguins on the Sabres: Randy Cunneyworth, player development coach; Matt D'Agostini, RW; Matt Moulson, LW (Moulson is a former draft pick who never played for the Penguins organization); Craig Patrick, advisor; Ken Saywer, senior advisor.

Ex-Sabres on the Penguins: Jason Botterill, assistant general manager; Taylor Pyatt, LW; Andre Savard, professional scout.

Useless Sabres Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Ryan Miller (above) is one of three Sabres goaltenders to win an Olympic medal and the Vezina Trophy. The others are Dominik Hasek and Tom Barrasso, a former Penguin.

Best Sabres Video We Could Find: Barrasso, then of the Sabres, pitching for a Western New York Nissan dealer:

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (28-12-1, 2.31 GAA, .915 SV%) for the Penguins. Ryan Miller (13-19-3, 2.62 GAA, .926 SV%) for the Sabres.

Injuries: For the Penguins, right wingers Beau Bennett (hand/wrist), Chris Conner (hand), Pascal Dupuis (knee), center Joe Vitale ("upper body") and goaltender Tomas Vokoun (blood clots) are on injured reserve. For the Sabres, right winger Drew Stafford ("upper body") is out. Right winger Matt D'Agostini ("upper body") and center Cody McCormick ("upper body") are on injured reserve.

Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins lines and defensive pairings at today's morning skate were:

14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 49 Brian Gibbons
36 Jussi Jokinen - 71 Evgeni Malkin - 18 James Neal
15 Tanner Glass - 16 Brandon Sutter - 59 Jayson Megna
17 Taylor Pyatt - 27 Craig Adams - 5 Deryk Engelland

4 Rob Scuderi - 58 Kris Letang
44 Brooks Orpik - 7 Paul Martin
3 Olli Maatta - 2 Matt Niskanen

-The Sabres' did not skate with line rushes at today's morning skate. Consider this a guess based off their game against the Blue Jackets Saturday:

26 Matt Moulson - 63 Tyler Ennis - 23 Ville Leino
9 Steve Ott - 19 Cody Hodgson - 28 Zemgus Girgensons
82 Marcus Foligno - 84 Phillip Varone - 65 Brian Flynn
37 Matt Ellis - 24 Zenon Konopka - 17 Linus Omark

Their defensive pairing at today's morning skate were:

10 Christian Ehrhoff - 5 Chad Ruhwedel
20 Henrik Tallinder - 57 Tyler Myers
6 Mike Weber - 4 Jamie McBain

Notes:

-The last time the Penguins played the Sabres, this happened:

-Malkin has appeared in 499 career games.

-Kunitz has 197 career goals.

-Nolan doesn't care about Miller's rotten career numbers against the Penguins.

-Our live blog beings at approximately 6:30 p.m. Please tune in.

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Final thoughts: Redemption road

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

GoDuquesne.com

DUQUESNE 83:81 ST. BONAVENTURE

Redemption couldn't have been more perfect for Derrick Colter.

With 5.5 seconds left and the Dukes trailing, 81-80, Colter missed a pair of potential game-tying and go-ahead free throws. He immediately fouled, which was his first step toward saving the game and becoming the night's unlikely hero.

On the other end, Bonnies guard Andell Cumberbatch, owner of one of the league's finest names, missed twice. Colter rebounded. Duquesne coach Jim Ferry called a timeout. His best player, Ovie Soko, had fouled out. He turned to the five on the floor; they'd run the play before, the one that calls for Colter to inbound, take a handoff and speed up the court. He has two options: shoot himself or ditch to the wings. We saw it against New Hampsire -- remember that? Colter took the shot then, too, and he missed.

So, it was another second chance for Colter. He had 3.8 seconds.

Colter inbounded to freshman forward L.G. Gill, took the handoff, and sprinted over midcourt, getting pressure from Bonnies guard Jordan Gathers as the clock hit 00:03, then 00:02. At the one-second mark, Colter elevated, Gathers ducked underneath to avoid a whistle, giving Colter as clean of a look as he could have asked for on this desperation floater.

I'll let play-by-play man Ray Goss tell the rest:

"I knew it was going in," Colter said afterward. Soko, seated beside him, just laughed and kept shaking his head.

The bucket gave Colter 14 points, a three-for-three night from 3-point range, and, most critically, snapped Duquesne's four-game losing streak in the most dramatic possible fashion. It landed him at No. 4 on SportsCenter's top-10 highlights alongside three other buzzer-beaters.

Colter had turned the ball over four times in the first half, and Ferry admitted his was really displeased with his point-guard play, but Colter turned things around in the second half and finished with five assists and that sweet, sweet taste of redemption.

Here's the P-G gamer, in case you missed it.

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Здравствуйте (hello) from Russia Best!

Written by Brady McCollough on .

From the moment I knew I was going to Sochi to cover the Winter Olympics, one phrase has kept popping into my head. Truly, I can't stop saying it:

"Russia best."
 
Evgeni Malkin had already given Pittsburgh so much -- another visit from Lord Stanley's Cup and his hilariously happy parents, Vladimir and Natalia, to name a few things -- but when his Twitter direct message exchange with the Phoenix Coyotes' Paul Bissonnette surfaced on Bissonnette's account in June 2012, we were forever further indebted to "Geno" for the following:
 
malkin text
 
So, yeah. That was awesome. Please never get old. 
 
And in thinking of a name for this blog, in which I will do my best to regale you with funny and interesting tidbits from my travels during the coming weeks, I just couldn't get away from  "Russia Best." Oh, we thought about "The Borscht Identity" or "Brady + Russkie = BRUSSKIE!" and a few others, but the blog will be called "Russia Best," and I hope it brings a smile to your face each time you visit as it will mine.
 
My mission on this trip is obviously to do some good journalism, but it is also to find out what makes Russia the best to Geno (of course, he gives some hints in the context of his conversation with Bissonnette). 
 
I'll be traveling to Moscow and then to Magnitogorsk, Malkin's hometown, and then on to Sochi to cover the games. I've never been to Russia, and I certainly don't speak the language, so this will be quite the adventure. I hope to keep you entertained.

 russia best logo

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Jordan Robinson ruled partial qualifier, not eligible this season

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

Jim Ferry, do you have an update on Jordan Robinson?

"Yeahhh ... and it's not good for the Dukes."

Robinson, a freshman center, has been in an ongoing eligibility battle all season long, and Duquesne finally got an answer. But not the one it was hoping for.

Robinson is a partial qualifier, Ferry said. He can stay on athletic scholarship but will not be able to practice with the team or compete for the Dukes this season.

At this point in the season, it was likely he might just take a redshirt anyway, but Duquesne is still thin in the frontcourt -- and at the very least he would have been able to practice with the team for the remainder of the season.

Ferry said Robinson will have four years of eligibility remaining when he first suits up next fall.

"It's disappointing, really disappointing," Ferry said, "but he's taking it well."


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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