Duquesne took to the road for their first trip outside of Pittsburgh Saturday in game three of the Gotham Classic traveling to Akron, Ohio to face Radford. Radford got back its best player, Carlick Jones, from suspension. As Steve joked the other night after the UIC game you also needed a side of tums today.
Duquesne was sluggish for most of the game, but won this game on the defensive end and on the glass. Eric Williams Jr had another ho-him double-double. At this point it’s only newsworthy if he doesn’t reach a double-double. Mike Lewis II was Mike Lewis and made open and contested shots. These are games that Duquesne would have lost a year ago but the defensive mindset has permeated through the team and they’re able to get stops when needed.
Duquesne’s free throw shooting again left a lot to be desired. 18-27 from the line will not get it done most nights but was enough to eek out a win today after two important free throws for Frankie Hughes with 21 seconds left on the clock. Ideally you’d also like to see more than 12 assists but considering the circumstances we will take that today and move on to South Bend. Sincere Carey’s Sox turnovers were not ideal either, however he is still playing at a level very uncommon for a freshman point guard in his third game.
Player of the Game
I’m going to go a little bit off the radar with this one and choose Frankie Hughes as the player of the game. Hughes hadn’t seen as much playing time as he’d probably like in the first two games but has made shots and today was no different. The stat line of 10 points 2 assists and a rebound don’t necessarily stand out, but every play he made was huge in the outcome of this game.
The Turning Point
Radford was up 42-38 early in the second half and looking like they might pull away. Tavian Dunn-Martin then calmly knocked down a deep three which gave Duquesne the momentum that they never surrendered. Dunn-Martin’s effort on the defensive end was once again a spark-plug.
When I Knew It Was Over
When Frankie Hughes drained two free throws with 21 seconds to go he put a nice bow on this game.
Credit Where It’s Due
Coming off of a win against Notre Dame you knew Radford was going to a stiff test. The Highlanders got a double-double from Ed Polite Jr and 14 points from the returning Carlick Jones. This is a team that could put a high seed on upset alert in March.
What We Learned
We learned today that Duquesne has a lot of things to work on but you know you’re going to get a tough as nails effort every time out. The defense looked much improved from the UIC game. Credit Duquesne for also crashing the offensive glass and outworking Radford. While Duquesne is talented, they’re going to have to consistently outwork their opponents to exceed expectations.
You have a to like what you’ve seen so far from the Dukes. They haven’t even come close to putting together a complete performance but are somehow 3-0. Tuesday in South Bend will be a huge challenge for this team. From the looks of their mental toughness they will respond well. After losing to Radford, the Irish will not be overlooking Duquesne, but the Dukes should go in with a chip on their shoulder and give the Irish a hard fought game. I also look for Sincere Carry to bounce back and have a good game on the national stage.