WEST VIRGINIA 96:83 DUQUESNE
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Duquesne couldn't keep pace with West Virginia on Sunday afternoon, losing 96-83 at the WVU Coliseum. You can find the full game story here.
The defeat drops the Dukes to 1-2 after consecutive losses to New Hampshire and the Mountaineers.
A few thoughts:
• Oh my, 3-pointers: Duquesne was beaten, again, by the 3-pointer. New Hampshire had 15, West Virginia had 10. The leading scorers for the Mountaineers were their perimeter guys, Eron Harris (33 points) and Juwan Staten (28) — both career-highs. WVU shot 10-of-18 from 3-point range.
“We’ve just got to start pressuring the perimeter more," senior forward Ovie Soko said. "We’re letting guys get too many good looks at the basket. At this level, if you let guys get it going, it’s going to be hard to slow them down.”
Staten was a big reason for the defensive struggles, too, since he added nine assists as he “broke the defense down and was kicking the ball out for wide-open looks for three," Soko said. Another issue is that the starting Duquesne guards Derrick Colter (5-11) and Tra'Vaughn White (5-10) are quite short, so the space opposing guards are given on the perimeter is magnified.
“Everybody talks about unselfishness," Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said. "You bring in all these new guys and talk about unselfish play. Everybody automatically thinks offense, but it’s not. It’s defense, it’s getting these guys to play together defensively, that’s where the unselfishness really has to come in."
• That was ... different: A year ago, Duquesne won a "complete opposite" game, Ferry said, a 60-56 Dukes victory in Pittsburgh between "two teams that were really bad and couldn't score."
“It was a hard-played basketball game,” Ferry said. “I thought it was the complete opposite of last year when you had two teams that were really bad and couldn’t score.
"It's funny. I watched our game last year and it was brutal -- just brutal. We won because I guess somebody had to. They were bad; we were bad."
Both teams have offenses now ... and neither has a defense to speak of.
“We’re going to be fine offensively,” Ferry said. “It’s going to be about tightening up defensively.”
“Some of those guys, if they actually stopped a guy one they’d kind of like it," WVU coach Bob Huggins said. "They might want to do it again. For now, it’s a continual parade to the rim.”
• Effort? Better: Duquesne didn't come to play on Wednesday against New Hampshire, but the effort was certainly there against the Mountaineers.
“That definitely stung,” sophomore guard Micah Mason said. “I thought we played harder than we did at home against New Hampshire. We’ve just got to keep fighting.”
Mason had 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including five 3-pointers and a four-point play just before halftime.
Soko led the team with 19 points and 12 rebounds but he still says he's not doing enough.
“I just didn’t do enough," Soko said. "You always feel like you could have reached more rebounds, made more plays. I just didn’t do enough to help my team.”
• Ferry on fouls: There were 46 combined fouls in this game. WVU went to the line 34 times, Duquesne 24.
Ferry gave an (irritated?) (exasperated?) (uncertain?) laugh when I brought up the topic of fouls in the post-game. Here's what he had to say:
“There was a lot of craziness going on," Ferry said. "We were shooting free throws and there was music going on, buzzers going off. I didn’t know what was going on. And then we get a flagrant foul while we’re taking a shot. Hand checks all over the place. That’s what coach Huggins and I were talking about; he’s been doing this for a long time, and I think he has frustrations with this too.
“Those three officials worked really hard, they really did, the rule’s a rule. This obviously isn’t the intent — we all have to make adjustments to it — but I thought it really killed that flow. I always pride my programs on not fouling, and to give up 34 free throws is unacceptable.
“Those are the rules. We’ve just got to make sure it’s consistent every night, though, or else the kids aren’t going to know how to play, either. If you just put your head down and drive then I guess it’s a foul, that’s what it’s appearing to be, and that’s what everybody is kind of doing. On both sides, thought. We got 24 free throws. I don’t know. We’ve got to work and play without our hands, but we do, we do work at that. I don’t have the answer.”