Duquesne MBB Prepares For La Salle Test
Duquesne Men’s Basketball Coach Keith Dambrot sat quietly in the university’s practice gym reflecting on his team’s defensive effort, as the Dukes conceded 70 paint points in Saturday evening’s road loss to Saint Louis.
“I think they had a really good night, and we did a bad job of getting the ball controlled,” he stated. “It affected us offensively because we didn’t get enough stops to get out. They had trouble when we got out and ran. We couldn’t get any stops; it was disappointing because we ended up having a pretty decent offensive game. It was one of those nights where we had trouble defensively.”
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Dambrot believed his Dukes were a half step slow throughout the evening and simply did not have it on that end.
Historically, Saint Louis guard Gibson Jimerson has been a three-point scorer, but he consistently drove with success throughout the evening, setting a season high in points, while his single make from deep also was the lone triple the Billikens made all evening.
“He’s not a very good driver, so we tried to get him off the three line,” said Dambrot. “He knew he could get a shot up anytime he wanted, that’s what happens. If you told me we were going to get 15 threes and they were going to get one, I’m telling you we win by 14 or 15. We had two bad stretches in the game, and it cost us.”
Jimmy Clark III has been the team’s defensive anchor throughout the season and as he reflected on the defensive effort, he did so from a leadership perspective.
“I’ve got to lead more and set the tone on defense for our team,” he stated. “It’s supposed to be my job to bring the energy up for the guys, especially defensively. We should have been in the gaps more on defense, had more communication, I feel that is where most of their points came from, transition and not communicating. Once we pick that up, we’ll be alright.”
Duquesne is set to travel for Wednesday night’s affair with La Salle, the team picked just barely above it in the Atlantic 10 Preseason Poll.
La Salle most recently had its five-game winning streak snapped Saturday at George Mason, but the Explorers are an even 7-7 in conference play, finding some pop under coach and alum Fran Dunphy.
Khalil Brantley leads La Salle with his 14.3 points per game, while Josh Nickelberry is right behind with his 10.6.
“This is a hard trip to La Salle and they’re tough,” Dambrot said. “When I told people Fordham was tough, they laughed at me. I feel the same way about La Salle. They don’t look great, but they have toughness and have been in every game. It’s a hard game.”
Duquesne continues to deal with the injury bug as David Dixon was limited in practice after absorbing contact during the Saint Joseph’s win and Matus Hronsky has been out with illness. The latter has not played since Feb. 8.
“We’ve got to get both of them back for practice purposes,” Dambrot said. “They’re both going to be very good players. You just can’t count on either of them right now, so you have to go with what you have. We played Dave three minutes last game, but we need his energy for 6-7 minutes a game.”
Additionally, Halil Barre was not present for practice as he continues to recover from an unspecified medical condition. His timetable remains indefinite.
Those of you familiar with PSN’s coverage earlier on in Dambrot’s tenure might remember the plus/minus statistic and how each player has fared throughout the season in his time on the court.
Admittedly Dambrot uses KenPom and in the past has used this statistic. Below are the overall plus/minus rates for this season’s team both overall and in conference play.
Dae Dae Grant +165
R.J. Gunn +93
Quincy McGriff +92
Jimmy Clark III +88
Tre Williams +76
Joe Reece +73
Kareem Rozier +69
Tevin Brewer +64
Austin Rotroff +14
Chabi Barre +8
David Dixon -1
Kevin Easley Jr -5
Andy Barba -7
Matus Hronsky -7
Jaylen Cole-Williams -12
A-10 play only
R.J. Gunn +82
Quincy McGriff +66
Dae Dae Grant +53
Kareem Rozier +43
Tevin Brewer +39
Jimmy Clark +28
Joe Reece +27
Tre Williams +22
Chabi Barre +7
Austin Rotroff +2
David Dixon -3
Jaylen Cole-Williams -10
Matus Hronsky -14