PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — After five days and no games for the Duquesne men’s basketball team, who went 2-1 in the 2k Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer in Valparaiso, they finally are back on the playing grind tomorrow night taking on The University of Louisiana-Lafayette (3-3), also coming off three games in three days.

The Ragin Cajuns, out of the Sun Belt Conference, return three starters from a team that won 11 games in a row to offset their slow 3-14 start, finishing at 14-15 for the 2011 season.  They most recently defeated Nicholls State 84-57 in the third of three games in the Beryl Shipley Challenge tournament where they went 2-1.

Second Team All-Sun Belt, sophomore J.J. Thomas leads ULL this season with 10.8 points per game. and 5.8 rebounds, while 6-9 junior, Kadeem Coleby, adds another 10.3 ppg. and ranks third in the conference with 2.3 blocks per game.  While junior guard, Raymone Andrews is still trying to find his stroke, he knows how to distribute the rock and has an assist turnover ratio of 2.5.

Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart knows along with keeping ULL’s big guys off the glass, one of the keys for the Dukes is to limit Andrews’ ability to penetrate and dish.

Four different players have led Louisiana in scoring in each of their six games. They have shot just 64.1 percent from the foul line, but are holding their opponents to 38.4 percent from the field.  So far this season, the Dukes are shooting 47.5 percent.

As for the Dukes (3-2), four players are currently averaging double digit scoring, with junior guard Sean Johnson’s 16.6 ppg. leading the way and senior B.J. Monteiro is at an even 15.

Sophomore guard T.J. McConnell had only the second triple-double in school history with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the Dukes’ win over Division II University of District of Columbia in the first game of the 2K Classic.  He’s currently leading the team in rebounds (5.0 rpg.), assists (6.0 apg.) and steals (3.0 spg.).

Rebounding and three-point shooting continue to be an issue, as opponents are out-rebounding the young frontcourt by over 10 rebounds per game and the Dukes are only knocking down 28 percent of their shots from the arc.

“In terms of interior defense, we got beat up in our last game so we’ve certainly been working on our interior defense all week long, whether it’s straight up or double teams,” said Coach Everhart, who felt that the team had an extremely productive week of practice.

–       Duquesne takes on Louisiana- Lafayette on Saturday, November 26th at 7PM at the A.J. Palumbo Center.

In case you wanted to know…

  • Sean Johnson was named to the Valparaiso Subregional All-Tournament team last weekend, shooting 50 percent from the field to average 18.7 ppg.
  • The Dukes tied a school record, 17 steals in a game, when they beat District of Columbia.
  • Duquesne is 23-6 in non-conference home games in the past two seasons.
  • ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas has said that second year ULL head coach Bob Marlin is one of the most underappreciated DI coaches in college basketball.
  • The Dukes play the University of Pittsburgh in the City Game on November 30th at Consol Energy Center.  Pitt pulled out the win last year, 80-66.

Aly Cohen
The Aly Way

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