PITTSBURGH — Duquesne started its 2019-20 season with a pair of victories, one at PPG Paints Arena against Princeton and another over Lamar at La Roche University on Tuesday.
Two game, two wins should make for some good feelings at Duquesne’s practice as the Dukes prep to host Lipscomb on Friday, right?
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One would only think that if they didn’t know Dukes head coach Keith Dambrot.
The firebrand coach was unsatisfied with the start of his team’s performance against Lamar on Tuesday, when the Dukes fell into a 16-7 deficit before rallying to defeat the Cardinals by 10.
Dambrot isn’t happy with the things he needs to fix with his squad in order to not let that happen again — the Cardinals are ranked No. 280 in the country by KenPom.com — but he’s glad to do it after a win instead of a loss.
“I always laugh when people say you can learn a lot from a loss,” Dambrot said after practice at Duquesne’s Power Center on Thursday. “Better them than me, because I sure as hell don’t want to learn from a loss. I want to learn from a win.”
Dambrot’s 35 years of coaching have taught him exactly how to deal with a winning, but still underperforming squad.
“When things are going poorly, you should massage and when things are going well, you should clobber them,” Dambrot said. “That’s the opposite of human nature. I’ll take the win and fix my problems.”
What he’s looking for is a little more consistency and attention to detail.
“We haven’t played a good first half yet,” Dambrot said. “Stay of foul trouble with Mike Hughes. Take better care of the basketball. Continue to improve defensively.”
SCOUTING THE BISONS
Lipscomb, a small liberal arts college in Nashville, had to find a new head coach this past offseason, when Casey Alexander left to fill Rick Byrd’s spot at cross-town Belmont. To fill the vacancy, the Bisons hired a coaching veteran from the Division II ranks in legendary former Alabama-Huntsville coach Lennie Acuff.
Acuff, 54, spent 23 seasons at UAH and led the Chargers to 11 NCAA Division II tournament bids, five Sweet 16s and two Elite Eights. He left with a 437-214 record and a .671 winning percentage. Dambrot, a former Division II head coach at Tiffin, is well aware of his coaching adversary for Friday.
“Lennie Acuff is a genius,” Dambrot said. “He’s won a million games. A lot of people think, well, he was a Division II coach. But I was a Division II, so I know how good those guys are. Bob Huggins was a Division II coach. … They’ve had to coach guys with lesser ability or guys with issues. So those guys are really high level coaches. This guy is one of the best coaches in the country that nobody has heard about.”