After losing 8 straight in the regular season, Duquesne found a little momentum when it took down St. Joseph’s on Saturday afternoon. The Dukes have failed to win a single game in the month of February, but they’re hoping that March will be a different story. Though the Dukes haven’t done much in A-10 play this season, they did manage a huge win over St. Bonaventure back in January in addition to beating St. Joe’s. Though it’s not very likely, Duquesne could be a team that makes a splash in Brooklyn. Given the talented backcourt that this team possesses, anything can happen. Here are 3 keys for Duquesne to play well in the A-10 Tournament.
1. Derrick Colter and Micah Mason have to go off
This pretty much goes without saying; Duquesne’s backcourt will have to be the best its ever been if this team wants to find success in Brooklyn. Both Mason and Colter are averaging more than 17 points per game, and it is tough to argue that Duquesne has one of the better backcourts in the conference. In taking down St. Bonaventure 95-88 earlier this season, Duquesne’s duo of guards combined for 50 points and even managed to outplay the Bonnies’ spectacular backcourt of Marcus Posley and Jaylen Adams. Micah Mason dropped 28 in the Dukes’ most recent win over St. Joe’s. Though Colter and Mason have been solid this season, they’re going to need to be even better when they travel to Brooklyn. This includes taking better care of the basketball. Duquesne needs to find a way to get over the hump, and it’s going to start with these two at the helm.
2. Stop turning the ball over
The Dukes rank 13th in the conference in limiting turnovers as they give away the ball on 19.5% of their offensive possessions according to Kenpom. What did every single game in Duquesne’s 8 game losing streak have in common? The Dukes have given the ball up 10 or more times in each contest. It hasn’t been getting much better either. Though Derrick Colter and Micah Mason have been great dishing out assists, they’ve really struggled taking care of the basketball. Colter had a season-high 7 giveaways the other day against Fordham. If you’re going to cough the ball up that often, you’re not going to find success against anyone, hence the losing streak that the Dukes found themselves in. It’s simple. Take better care of the basketball, and maybe Duquesne can find a couple of wins in Brooklyn.
3. Stop allowing so many three pointers
Part of Duquesne’s problem this season has been its inability to defend the three point line. The Dukes have allowed opponents to shoot 40.6% percent from long range this season. That rounds this team out at 347th out of 351 teams in defensive three point percentage. Ouch. I think you could probably guess that they rank last in the conference as well. Though this team does make a lot of three pointers, its tough to win when the opponent is consistently keeping up with you in that regard. Not to mention that the opponent is connecting on more attempts than Duquesne; the Dukes make just 36.3% of their shots from downtown. Even though Duquesne found a way to make 13 threes against Davidson, the Wildcats knocked down 12 of their own to stay in it. They shot 46% from long range compared to 38% from Duquesne. In the one game where Duquesne did have a good night, it held Dayton to just 5 three pointers and almost pulled out that win. Defend the perimeter, and the Dukes could have a shot at pulling off an upset or two in the A-10 Tournament.