Duquesne Earns Double Bye in A-10 Tournament with Win Against Fordham on the Road
Duquesne defeated UMass Wednesday night, 88-79, earning them a bye from the first day of the Atlantic 10 Tournament next week at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The Dukes (20-10 overall, 10-7 Atlantic 10) are 6-2 since the start of February and have put themselves in contention for a double-bye in the A-10 Tournament next week as well. In order to achieve this, they need to defeat the Fordham Rams (23-7 overall, 11-6 Atlantic 10) Saturday, March 4 at 2 p.m. at Rose Hill Gym in the Bronx, N.Y.
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Fordham had an opportunity to clinch a double-bye for themselves, but lost to George Mason on the road on Wednesday night, 64-58 in overtime. This means they have to defeat Duquesne on Saturday, or they will have to play next Wednesday in the Second Round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
The two teams met at UPMC Cooper Field House on Jan. 21, and the Rams pulled out the 65-58 win over the Dukes. The Rams held the Dukes to 30.6% shooting from the field, including 3-for-16 from 3-point range. That is the least amount of 3-pointers the Dukes have made in a game this season and the 18.8% shooting from behind the arc is second worst.
Fordham is led by graduates in guard Darius Quisenberry and forward Khalil Moore. Quisenberry and Moore are first and second on Fordham and also No. 8 and No. 15 in Atlantic 10 play averaging 16.0 and 14.6 points per game, respectively. Against Duquesne in the first matchup, Moore led Fordham with 19 points and Quisenberry finished second with 14 points.
Quisenberry is also the offensive creator on the team with 3.1 assists per game in A-10 play and is No. 7 in conference play with a 1.8 assist/turnover ratio.
Moore is the best rebounder on the Rams and No. 9 in conference play, averaging 6.8 per contest. The Rams average 36.8 rebounds per game in conference play as a team, the second best in the Atlantic 10.
Joining Moore down in the post is junior forward Abdou Tsimbila from Cameroon. Tsimbila is tied for first in Atlantic 10 play with Dayton sophomore forward DaRon Holmes II with 1.5 blocks per game. Senior center Rostyslav Novitskyi from Ukraine averages 1.0 blocks per game in Atlantic 10 play as well, making Fordham tied for first with Rhode Island in averaging 4.18 blocks per game in conference play.
The Rams are also great at making steals, as they rank third in Atlantic 10 play with 7.94 per game. Junior guards in Kyle Rose and Antrell Charlton are two of the best at forcing steals, as Rose averages 2.1 per game and Charlton averages 1.6 per contest, good for third and sixth in conference play, respectively.
Duquesne will need to exploit Fordham’s weaknesses on offense. In terms of shooting, Fordham is the worst team in Atlantic 10 play this season. Their 38.8% shooting from the field and their 28.1% 3-point shooting are both the worst in conference play.
Fordham, as a result, also struggles to create assists, averaging 11.65, the third worst in A-10 play.
The Dukes have to improve their shooting when they travel to take on the Rams tomorrow if they are to win. They can’t shoot 30% from the field and poor for 3-point range and expect to come out of a raucous environment like Rose Hill Gymnasium with a victory.
Luckily, Duquesne averages 9.4 3-pointers per game and shoot 37.8% from 3-point range, No. 1 and No. 3 in Atlantic 10 play, respectively. They also average 75.5 points per A-10 game, No. 3 in the conference, and have averaged 78.9 points per game since the start of February.
The Dukes need to match the Rams defensively as well, especially in steals. They rank No. 2 in conference play with 8.94 steals per game and are led by junior guard Jimmy Clark III, who is No. 1 in A-10 play with 2.6 steals per game.
If Duquesne is able to improve their offensive output and create steals defensively, they have a shot to defeat Fordham, but it surely won’t be an easy task.