Duquesne was able to successfully turn the page from a Kentucky trip that was a good measuring stick for what needed to be done so this team could find improvement.
A 96-71 victory over South Carolina State in which the team shot 47.3% from the field, showed that Duquesne had indeed learned and displayed some signs of maturity.
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“During practice he always preaches shot selection and sharing the ball,” guard Tre Clark said. “He put that emphasis that if we share the ball more, we’ll get better shots. We just have to go through with that during the season.”
All 14 active players saw the court and made positive contributions, but here are a few takeaways from the contest.
ROTROFF STEPS IN
Duquesne has displayed resilient post depth in the early stages of this season, but that may not have been more tested than it was Monday night.
Joe Reece was dealing with a hip pointer injury and R.J. Gunn was dealing with foot discomfort. When Reece picked up two quick fouls in the early going, coach Keith Dambrot opted to go with David Dixon so that he had more experience.
Austin Rotroff is still on a minutes count, so Dixon was the decision to further his growth, but also because he had a longer leash in terms of time on the court.
Dixon is still working on finding him on the court and within this team and that was where Rotroff came in.
Before being injured last year, he was able to rebound at a higher level and Monday he recorded a career high 11 rebounds in 12 minutes and had the personal best before halftime.
Rotroff also scored seven points in the winning effort.
“That’s my mentality coming into every game,” he stated. “I know it may seem like a little statistic, but offensively it creates extra possessions that’s just one thing I can keep consistent.”
DEFENSIVE REBOUNDING A WORK IN PROGRESS
If there was one consistent issue which plagued the Dukes in this game, it was proper positioning on defensive rebounds.
On several different occasions, Duquesne would allow South Carolina State players to follow their misses, get positioning on a rebound and either earn a basket or foul shots.
Rotroff acknowledged this deficiency within the game and believes it can be corrected.
“A lot of the times some of our issues come when the bigs come over to block, so they’re kind of out of position when they go to block a shot, he explained. “It ends up being a whole-team effort because the big gets taken out of the play, so the other four guys have to do a better job of correcting the mistake and hitting the big so there is no rebounding opportunity for the offense.”
SECOND HALF CHANGE SHOWS PRIORITY
In the second half, Dambrot elected to bring his starters out with one exception as Tevin Brewer was on the court in Quincy McGriff’s stead.
On the surface it would be easier to explain that McGriff strung mistakes together in the first half that saw Dambrot hook him and have extended dialogue.
Though it may have seemed like a message sent, the truth was that it was another attempt to get Brewer going.
“We need to get him out there so he could get his sea legs,” said Dambrot. “You could see that he’s a really good shooter, but you couldn’t tell it because his legs are wobbly. It’s more trying to push him.”
Dambrot further stated that as he gets healthier, Brewer will run the point, with Kareem Rozier also manning the position, but more so as a substitute. This will take both McGriff and Matus Hronsky off point guard responsibilities.
Dambrot is pleased with Rozier has done to date, serving as the program’s leader as a true freshman, playing hard and learning.
It has been hard keeping Rozier off the floor and has not hurt Duquesne in his on-court time.
CARNEY REDSHIRT EXPLAINED
Following Duquesne’s season-opening victory over Montana, Zagsblog reported that freshman guard Devin Carney would redshirt, and colleague George Michalowski confirmed this news.
Dambrot was asked following Monday’s game for his official thoughts on this decision and had this to offer.
“Right now, it’s in his best interest,” he said. “We have a bunch of those old guards, why waste a year? We don’t know what can happen a month from now, but even so unless you can guarantee minutes, you don’t want to waste that for a young man. I wouldn’t want that done to me. He has to work hard, but he has a chance to be a good player.”