Many teams in the realm of college basketball have faced numerous obstacles both on and off the court this season. Between injuries, pauses and a tough Atlantic 10 schedule, that narrative rang true for the Duquesne Dukes all season long.
After edging La Salle, who would later be named Duquesne’s Atlantic 10 Tournament first round opponent, on Friday, the Dukes dropped their regular season finale against St. Joe’s on Sunday after a scoreless third quarter proved to be too much for the team to come back from.
Dan Burt remained adamant, throughout the weekend, that he felt confident in his decision to not add another conference game, an option that was presented to Atlantic 10 schools prior to next week’s tournament.
“We are, physically, very beat up,” said Burt. “As many people know, this has been a very injury-plagued season for our team and they’ll need a little bit of rest, they’ll need a little bit of time to really concentrate and drill down on academic work.”
Duquesne has utilized many different starting lineups throughout its season due to injuries and COVID-19. While not mentioning lineups tweaks, specifically, Burt hinted at the possibility of administering some changes to the game plan for the upcoming matchup against La Salle that play into the Dukes’ strengths.
“We have five days, we’re gonna do some things and some things may be a little bit different for when we go to Richmond.”
He later elaborated further, “We’re gonna play, and let it fly, and play free, and play with great energy. We’re going to, hopefully, go down there and surprise some people.”
After coming out on the wrong end of Sunday’s game, Burt acknowledged the lack of execution from the Duquesne offense during the game’s final 20 minutes. He placed most of the blame, however, on his own shoulders for not making a defensive adjustment earlier in the half.
“We should have gone to the press earlier,” said Burt. “That’s a mistake that I made, that’s on me. That’s probably my biggest regret from the game.”
Burt also explained that the team needs to distribute the ball better moving forward, much like in the La Salle game that featured nine players scoring seven or more points, rather than relying on one key player to handle the workload on offense.
“It’s not best for our team if one person has a lot more shot attempts. We need to spread it out. We don’t really have an alpha in terms of scoring the ball, we have to go ride the hot hand each game.”
The Dukes will hit the hardwood on March 11 for the previously mentioned game against La Salle. That contest will take place in Richmond, Virginia, and be available to stream on ESPN+.