Wow, what an amazing game and comeback. Even the most hopeful among the Duquesne fandom probably didn’t see this one turning out the way it did late in the second half. Wins don’t always need to come with style points, but this one needed a side of Tums.
Duquesne managed to steal one not just from UIC down 9 at the final media timeout, but from the basketball Gods as well. This contest felt like that classic game where everything goes wrong and there is nothing a team can do to win. I call them “one of those days” losses, and every squad can legitimately expect to experience one or two of them a year. Of course, for every “one of those days” losses there is a “one of those days” type win. They generally balance themselves out over the 30 odd games. In the end, Duquesne felt like they flipped one they shouldn’t have.
The defense was not good tonight. There were a number of missed assignments and wide open looks for UIC. On top of that, they rebounded poorly in the first half so even when the Flame missed, they extended their possessions on the offensive glass.
Player of the Game
Last game, there was a little more of a conversation as to whom the player of the game was. Tonight it was no question Sincere Carry. 32 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 steals. Of course, he finally got his first turnover.
Something clicked around the three and half minute mark when Keith Dambrot used the first timeout of the second half. Lamar Norman had just drained a huge three. The timeout triggered back to back media breaks and gave the Dukes some time to really soak in the momentum. Their full court press seemed to have considerably more life after that point and Duquesne started to finish with more consistency. This was exceptional timeout management and whatever Dambrot said with his time, it got the Dukes heading in the right direction.
When I Knew It Was Over
When Godwin Boahen’s lay-up went through the hoop and the ref’s whistle didn’t blow on Norman who tightly defended him.
Credit Where It’s Due
The Flame kept the Dukes at arms length and had an answer every time they started to get something going for roughly 30 minutes of the game. They had a very balanced offense and shot incredibly well.
What We Learned
Maybe the team really hasn’t gelled as fully as we thought? The offense still clicked well enough considering the Dukes missed a number of open looks, but on defense and on the glass in the first half, they just didn’t look like they knew what their roles were a lot of times. Credit to UIC’s guards for doing an excellent job driving, and either cutting, or kicking it back out to the wing but Duquesne looked a lot more like the team I expected to see early in the season today at least defensively.
This was a much closer game with 3:32 remaining than the 12 point margin indicated. The Flame went on a run in the first five minutes of the first half, and the Dukes pretty much stayed within one of two possessions of the 11 point differential UIC amassed early until the consecutive media timeouts. The Dukes just couldn’t muster their run until they could wait not longer.
The Dukes did tighten up defensively when it counted down the stretch. They could have gotten back into the game sooner if not for some missed jump shots. This was a gutty performance and good teams find ways to win on those seemingly hopeless nights. While I would have liked to see the Dukes control this one from wire to wire, the young team learned a hell of a lot more about what it takes to win than they would have if they walked in the park.