PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN)– After the first exhibition game of the season, Duquesne men’s basketball senior B.J. Monteiro said something profound—something that holds true in most games, with most teams and in most sports. He said that there are going to be certain games where some people play better than others. Today, however, everyone on the floor for the Dukes played exceptionally well in their own right.
“We just really hustled and we played a good game,” said Dukes sophomore guard T.J. McConnell.
Duquesne defeated the Green Bay Phoenix 84-66 in their season home opener. Green Bay is now 1-1- after winning their first home game of the season two days earlier by nearly 40 points. The Duke’s victory puts Ron Everhart at 6-0 in home openers as the Dukes head coach, and the team at 88-8 all-time in such games.
“This is a very good basketball team we beat here today. I was very pleased with our effort today,” Coach Everhart said.
The Dukes were up against a team from the competitive Horizon League Conference that finished 15-18 last season under first year head coach Brian Wardle, and that retuned three starters including preseason All-Horizon Second Team selection, 7-1 sophomore Alec Brown.
Brown set a school record last season with 67 blocks, ranking third in the conference with 2.1 blocks per game while averaging 10.2 points. He finished with 4 blocks today, 14 points, 10 in the 2nd half, and 10 rebounds.
Junior forward Andre Marhold had a breakout game for the Dukes with a career high 17 points, four rebounds and two blocks. He said he’s really starting to understand the offense and where to be when the guards penetrate to be open for the dish—something he didn’t think he had been doing in the past. Marhold also said he was disappointed that he didn’t have more rebounds, but Everhart credits him as being “one of our hardest working kids.”
There was no specific game plan to contain Brown, but Everhart thought Marhold did so effectively, especially in the first half when Brown was just 2-5 from the field.
Able to control a fast-paced tempo that makes the Dukes successful, the team forced Green Bay to 19 turnovers, for 21 points. McConnell continued to showcase his ability to find his teammates in opportune times, finishing with seven of the team’s 20 assists, without one turnover.
All five Duquesne starters, B.J. Monteiro, Andre Marhold, Eric Evans, T.J. McConnell and Sean Johnson scored in double digits, with Mike Talley adding on nine. Monteiro tied for a game high 17 points along with Marhold and Phoenix forward Jarvis Williams. McConnell had five of the team’s nine steals.
“You can really tell when teams are uncomfortable with the pressure. You could just tell they weren’t playing their normal game, so I give the credit to my teammates for that,” McConnell said.
Other positive takeaways for the Dukes included going 18-22 from the line, something that the players say they are focusing on in practice.
Freshman forward, Mamadou Datt who had one blocked shot and five rebounds in his 14 minutes in the game is starting to find his place under the hoop. The team also did a good job protecting the rock with just nine turnovers, the lowest in their two exhibition and two regular season games so far this season, and had a chance to practice adjusting to a slower game when Green Bay played zone.
Rebounding is still an issue, as Green Bay out-rebounded the Dukes by 17, including 21 offensive rebounds. Coach Everhart believes that Martins Abele, who is ineligible for the first four games of the season for playing in impermissible summer league games, will be able to help close that gap.
“I hope we just get him in shape enough to where he can change ends similarly to what Brown does, because if he does that then we’re going to have a chance,” Everhart said referring to Brown’s ability to run the floor.
Everhart added that they need to work on getting back late in the game.
“The things that we let up on were things we do pretty well everyday in practice. We didn’t do a good job of stopping the basketball,” Coach said.
An 18-point win isn’t too shabby and fortunately the Dukes have practice tomorrow.
In case you wanted to know…
- Green Bay’s head coach, Brian Wardle is ranked 6th on Marquette University’s all-time scoring list with 1,690 and ranks in the top 10 in the school’s all-time 3-point field goals made with 197 and free-throw percentage at 81.1%.
- The Dukes are 25-10 in non-conference home games
- Duquesne takes on the University of District of Columbia in an away game on Friday November 18th at 6PM as part of the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.