CLEVELAND – In what could end up being their worst game of the season, the Duquesne Dukes lost by 22 points to the Marshall Thundering Herd in the second game of the Cleveland Classic Sunday afternoon.
It was the Dukes’ (10-2) second straight loss after they had opened the year on a 10-game winning streak. Head coach Keith Dambrot thought it was the worst performance he has seen in at least the last 12 years and thinks he may need to make big changes before the team opens conference play Thursday.
“Normally I would massage them, but they might need a good old ass-kicking,” Dambrot said. “I think we’ve got to reevaluate who we’re playing, what lineups we’re using, everything. We have to reevaluate everything.”
The kind of “ass-kicking” Dambrot has in mind includes finding out which players are all-in on what they are trying to do.
“Making sure they understand if they want what they want, they’ve got to do what we want,” Dambrot explained. “Sometimes you can kill people by being too nice or massaging them.
“If you don’t understand what this is about, then there’s issues. I’ve felt like we’ve been a little selfish, I could sniff it. You’re selfish if you don’t take the charge, you’re selfish if you don’t get on the floor for a loose ball, you’re selfish if you don’t take a rotation.”
Sunday the team had its worst shooting performance of the year, hitting only 23-of-68 (33.8%) shots from the floor. Marshall on the other hand almost could not be stopped. The 6-7 Thundering Herd 35 of their 68 shots (51.5%), the second straight game that the Dukes allowed their opponent to shoot over 50%.
“We’re not guarding at all five spots,” Dambrot said. “We’re guarding at one and a half spots right now and that’s not going to win games for us. We’re not going to outscore people, we’ve shown that. We have to guard better than that.”
Dambrot said his team needs to understand that the more they win, the harder other teams will play them.
“They came for us, they came for us and they played good and they’ve been playing better, and they best our ass,” Dambrot said. “And that’s what we’ve got to understand, the more you win, the more people come at you. Duquesne’s never really had any bullseye on them, we’re not going to have any bullseye anymore because if we play like that we’ll finish last in the league.”
The Dukes tip-off Atlantic 10 play Thursday evening against Saint Louis and Dambrot knows that his team has to start playing better.
“It’s a good smack in the mouth,” Dambrot said. “Ultimately I’m responsible, we’ve got to play better than that, it’s as simple as that.”