PITTSBURGH — Duquesne men’s basketball Keith Dambrot was a man without an opening statement following a 51-49 loss Wednesday night to St. Bonaventure.
The student-athletes were not made available for comment and Dambrot admittedly did not even make an opening statement so he would say less about his team and Wednesday’s effort.
Really though, the game spoke for itself.
Duquesne allowed St. Bonaventure to come to the Palumbo Center, shoot 28.6% from the field and 11.8% on its three-point shots, yet still find a way to win.
“He’s (St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt) going to church shooting 28% and winning the game,” Dambrot remarked.
Duquesne charts something called Energy Generated Behaviors, or EGB’s for short, and it was in this area what Dambrot most felt his team left a lot to be desired.
“We had really poor energy,” said Dambrot. “We tried, but we just didn’t play well together. We tried to do too much ourselves. We did a good enough job defensively, but we really didn’t rebound well. When you hold someone to 20-for-70 and 2-17, you should probably win the game. We kind of got what we deserved.”
Any of the 2,433 in attendance at the Palumbo Center could see that this was a banged up version of the Duquesne Dukes.
Sincere Carry could not get in a defensive stance, yet he once again played 37 minutes, grimacing in pain for a lot of them.
Tavian-Dunn Martin was given a 30% chance of playing, 32 hours prior to tipoff yet he went through a warmup, wore different shoes and even wincing after potentially turning his already injured ankle, he fought and gave 13 minutes.
Marcus Weathers was held to five points on 2-of-5 shooting, but managed to grab nine rebounds despite a groin injury which had him at less than 100%.
Kellon Taylor was not even supposed to play for the team and had not even been on the court in a real game for a month, but seeing these injuries as well as Lamar Norman Jr’s concussion he had in Monday practice which made him available, he wanted to help.
Taylor continued to practice with the team and his two minutes may not seem like much on the surface but the risk of injury is always there and with his senior football season around the corner, it was a sacrifice he made to help Duquesne.
Two weeks ago, this was a team which appeared to have things figured out, at least from a rotational standpoint and who to play when. Today that was more on the disjointed side because with these injuries, playing the same rotations with any form of consistency was not possible.
“Tavian really didn’t have much, but I give those guys credit,” Dambrot said. “Sincere’s knee wasn’t very good at all, but he tried. We just have to play better than that but we had some things stacked against us.”
YEAH… NO EXCUSES
It is no secret, that Duquesne is a young team, in fact Dambrot will not hesitate to tell you, his Dukes are 348th of 353 schools in KenPom’s most experienced college teams.
After Tuesday’s practice, Dambrot stated that if you looked purely at the stats, it is hard to figure out how Duquesne is a 15 win team but it is more than just stats.
Duquesne has a core group of players who sat, watched and became frustrated at the thought of waiting to help this team.
This hunger and wanting to prove people wrong has largely served Duquesne well, but at times it also had gotten in its own way.
Duquesne has yet to play a full 40 minute game. It has played one good half against Davidson, Richmond, GW, VCU and Rhode Island but the youth had continued to show.
The easy thing to do would be to write everything off because the team is young, many of coaches have done that before, including at Duquesne, but Dambrot does not want that to define his team.
In this game, Duquesne had eight assists and came in averaging 14.4. The easy thing to do would be to blame the injuries and youth, but Dambrot refused to do that.
“We’re 20 some games in, there’s no excuse for youth,” he said. “Tiredness, fatigue and mental toughness are more of a cause. Then sometimes you need to get your oil changed, change your mindset. Sometimes people lose their gauge as to what is important. There’s only one thing that really matters in all of this and that’s when your team wins or loses. I get judged on it, they get judged on it. Sometimes people have to get hit in the mouth to understand this.
“If we win the game, I probably would have been more upset than I am now. They lost the game and they know they gave one away because they didn’t play well together.”
PLUSSES AND MINUSES
Given the nature of this specific game, the plus/minus statistic naturally followed suit. Duquesne’s most efficient player based on this statistic was freshman guard Brandon Wade. Wade played 11 minutes and was a +4 on the evening and also was able to grab a rebound. Frankie Hughes was right behind as a +3. Both Dunn-Martin and Weathers were -5’s on the evening.
HE SAID IT
“If we get it right, completely healthy and our mind is right, we’re still capable of beating anyone in the league. we’ve played 10 games and all of them have been within 10 points. We’ve been a little up and down but we’re a tough out. They’re all going to be like this, it’s pretty obvious.” – Keith Dambrot