There is an odd conflict between myself as a college basketball fan and myself as a Duquesne fan after watching the Dukes fall to the Davidson Wildcats tonight
On one hand, that was a hell of an entertaining, see-saw contest. The teams were evenly matched for 40 minutes and neither really ever controlled the game for more than a few possessions at a time. Ultimately, Davidson got the best of the final minute and a half, and that decided the game.
Even in a loss, I thought the Dukes played their most complete game of the season tonight. Sure they struggled at times and shot particularly poorly from three point range in the second. However, they didn’t lose focus for long stretches as they had at times during every outing of the non-conference season.
They still lost. The Dukes had a number of opportunities to take control of the game, but they extended their lead to two possessions just once. They went 3 – 12 from the floor with the lead in the second half. While I don’t think they played poorly for long stretches, I’m not sure if they played excellent for any either.
Player of the Game
Kellan Grady didn’t have his best game of his season, but he produced with the game on the line. He hit a go ahead three with three minutes to play and all but iced it at the free throw line hitting two from the stripe in the closing seconds.
The Turning Point
Grady missed a potential nail in the coffin three with forty – four seconds left. Frankie Hughes couldn’t get a handle on the rebound, and the ball bounced out of play. The refs kept the possession with the Wildcats, and with no good angle to confirm or override the play available, they could not upheld the call on replay.
When I Knew It Was Over
After Grady hit his late free throws, the Dukes took too long to find any three point shot in their final possession. They settled for a poor one and Marcus Weathers couldn’t save the rebound without stepping out of play.
Credit Where It’s Due
Davidson stepped up the defensive intensity in the second half. While everyone talks about how young the Dukes are, Davidson isn’t much older with only two juniors or seniors playing more than twenty minutes a game.
I didn’t have anywhere to put this earlier, but I thought Weathers played the way I envisioned him playing before the season started. Gritty, tough and with the ability to create his own looks. NJIT wasn’t a good day for him, but he followed it with one of his best.
I’m not happy with the loss, but I can’t complain much about the performance. With Grady in the lineup, Davidson might be the best team in the Atlantic 10, and this was likely the toughest road game of the season. The Dukes nearly pulled it out and while you don’t get anything for a moral victory, you don’t always have to hang your head too low or too long after some defeats either.