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Duquesne Tries to Stay Perfect in February with Win Over a Solid St. Louis Squad on the Road



Duquesne is currently on a 4-0 start to the month of February, their best start to the month since they joined the Atlantic 10 conference in the 1976-77 season.

The Dukes (18-8 overall, 8-5 Atlantic 10) now face off against the Saint Louis Billikens (17-9 overall, 9-4 Atlantic 10) on the road Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m., which features massive implications going forward.

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Duquesne is coming off a dominant, 76-62 win over in-state foe St. Joseph’s Wednesday, Feb. 15 at UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse. The win capped off a perfect three-game homestand, which saw Duquesne defeat George Mason, 75-52, on Feb. 8 and win a close victory over St. Bonaventure on Feb. 11, 56-54.

The Dukes started off the month with a blowout win, 93-67, on the road against the George Washington Colonials on Feb. 4. They have played their best basketball at the right time, which is now propelling them to potentially earn a double-bye in the Atlantic 10 Tournament in March.

St. Louis is currently fourth in the Atlantic 10 standings, just one spot above Duquesne. They started off conference play by winning seven of their first eight games to put them on top of the conference.

The Billikens great play has faltered as of late, as they have only won two of their past five games. All three of those losses came against VCU, Dayton and Fordham, all of whom are first through third in the Atlantic 10 standings.

Saint Louis is the second-best scoring team in the Atlantic 10, scoring 73.8 points per game in conference play. They are also the second most efficient scoring team in the conference, as they shoot 48.1% from the floor, and the best 3-point shooting team, 38.9% from behind the arc, in Atlantic 10 play.

The Billikens are also the best passing team in the conference. They are first in assists per game, 16.31, and also with an 1.29 assist/turnover ratio.

Junior guard Yuri Collins is the leader for this St. Louis squad in terms of creating on offense. His 10.0 assists per game and his 249 assists lead not only the conference, but all Division I players as well. His 2.8 assist/turnover ratio is also best in the Atlantic 10 and 19th in the NCAA.

Collins also averages a team-high 36.0 minutes per game, meaning Duquesne will need to neutralize him throughout most of the match. While he averages 11.6 points per game, he is also incredibly efficient from the floor for a guard, making 51.1% of his shots in A-10 play.

Duquesne's 2024 March Madness Tournament coverage is sponsored by Leon's Billiards & More, Moon Golf Club and Archie's on Carson! Their contributions have allowed us to cover the Dukes run in Omaha, Nebraska. We appreciate their support!

Senior forward Francis Okoro plays as the Billikens’ rim protector. He averages 1.3 blocks and 7.5 rebounds per Atlantic 10 game, good for fourth and sixth best in the conference, respectively.

Redshirt sophomore guard Gibson Jimerson is St. Louis’ best scorer and shooter. He scores 14.3 points, shoots 45.5% from the field and 39.3% from 3-point range in conference play.

Duquesne has only won two of its seven games this season on the road, with both those games coming in Atlantic 10 play, against St. Joe’s on Jan. 11 and also George Washington to kickstart February.

The Dukes use their defense to their benefit, particularly doing so in February. They have allowed just 58.8 points per game this month and forced 78 turnovers, converting them into 96 total points, an average of 24.0 points off turnovers in that span.

Duquesne leads the Atlantic 10 with 9.23 steals per game. Junior guard Jimmy Clark III leads the conference with 3.0 steals per game in conference games. Fellow junior guard Dae Dae Grant also provides solid defense, with a 1.2 steals per game in A-10 play.

Clark leads the Dukes with 12.8 points per game in conference play and Grant is second with 12.7 points per A-10 game. The Dukes will need both to produce if they want to take down the Billikens on the road.

St. Louis is a great home team, with a 12-3 record at Chaifetz Arena in 2022-23. Their only Atlantic 10 loss at home is against conference leaders VCU on Feb. 3.

The Dukes will need great defense and solid offensive production throughout if they are to defeat the Billikens,. They will also need to withstand the pressure that they’ll face offensively from an effective passing team like the Billikens.

Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot has his team on the best February start since the 1970-71 NCAA Tournament team that began the month 7-0. A win against St. Louis on the road will keep that momentum going into the Atlantic 10 tournament in three weeks.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Rob Radich.
Rob Radich.
1 year ago

Go Dukes!

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