Post Game Thoughts – Eastern Kentucky

Blood pressure medication sales are reaching a new high on The Bluff as the Dukes continue to eek out meaningful, close games at the AJ Palumbo Center.

This team simply does not quit. Duquesne eliminated yet another double digit second half deficit to tie in this case and eventually win.  At some point, they’re going to get burned if they continue to spot these 100 + RPI schools big leads, but the come from behind nature of these wins has made this start to the season even more exciting.

The Good

Keith Dambrot made some big changes to the starting lineup, and it seems like it paid off. Frankie Hughes and Tavian Dunn – Martin replaced Marcus Weathers and Mike Lewis II as the Dukes went four guards. You can’t ask for much more as all five starters finished with double figures in scoring.

The Dukes also matched the Colonels by forcing twenty – one turnovers. We don’t think much about the Dukes as a pressure team, but ultimately, they are among the most effective in the country. They came into the game averaging the ninth most steals and seventeenth in turnovers adding to both averages today.

The Bad

I sound like a broken record with this but the Dukes once again had a very uneven performance throughout the game. Sure, basketball is a game of runs, and those runs become more extreme when you play a team as reliant on turnovers as Eastern Kentucky is. However, you simply can’t fall asleep for long stretches the way the Dukes seemed to this weekend.

Player of the Game

Eric Williams, Jr posted yet another double – double and spent just a minute on the bench. Dambrot doesn’t like to play his guys that much, but he needed his sophomore star especially after point guard Sincere Carry fouled out.

The Turning Point

I don’t know if there was truly a turning point. The Dukes just started chipping away and kept chipping till they got ahead.

When I Knew It Was Over

When Tre King missed the second free throw and Michael Hughes secured the rebound. This one nearly came down to the final whistle.

Credit Where It’s Due

Eastern Kentucky presented a difficult match up for the Dukes or really any team that struggles with turnovers. They executed their game plan to perfection, could have and maybe should have won the game.

Parting Thoughts

My apologies for the delay in releasing this piece. I’ve been doing a lot of travel the last couple of days and just didn’t have time to edit.

The Dukes have one more to go in the non-conference and it’s a surprisingly big one. NJIT walked through the non-conference season amassing a top 100 RPI so far. That’s much better than I expected and the Dukes have a shot at a meaningful pick up on New Year’s Eve. It won’t be easy, as they’ll be the opposite matchup challenge to Eastern Kentucky in that the Highlands don’t turn the ball over much. The Dukes have struggled at times in the half court defense and on the defensive glass. They’ve compensated by minimizing shot attempts, but flipping possessions won’t be as viable an option next Monday.

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