I hate being trite, but this is a game neither team deserved to lose.
We saw two amazing comebacks today. GW chipped away at Duquesne’s huge early lead over thirty – two minutes, and Duquesne closed a five point deficit in the final minute. Really, a great game, and one I enjoyed a bit more thanks to the Dukes pulling it out.
Four of Duquesne’s starters dominated for stretches to keep the Dukes head above water. Michael Hughes got them off to an unbelievable start. Eric Williams got hot after GW switched to the zone. Marcus Weathers forced them out of the zone with his scoring around the basket as they rebuilt a second half lead. Sincere Carry put them on his back down the stretch and to start overtime. The Dukes have a lot of weapons, and we’re starting to see them flex their muscle. Without one of the above, Duquesne loses today.
Honorable mention, Carry and Frankie Hughes combined for fourteen assists.
Duquesne didn’t defend particularly well today. Their rotations weren’t crisp and the Dukes’ center got isolated on a guard all too often either exposing them to the dribble drive or pulling them away from the hoop. That’s not to say that there weren’t some excellent stretches, but they took a step back after taking some steps forward.
Player of the Game
Yes, Michael Hughes turned the ball over a buttload, but his buttload of points and rebounds were much larger and incredibly impressive. On top of that, his buttload of blocks was almost as large.
The Turning Point
When I Knew It Was Over
I thought it was over at the first media timeout of the game, but I guess I was wrong. Then, I thought it was over when Javier Langarica knocked down two free throws to put the Colonials up a nickel. Wrong again! It wasn’t truly over until Maceo Jack’s missed three pointer bounced harmlessly out of bounds with eleven seconds to go in overtime.
Credit Where It’s Due
GW could have quit multiple times and didn’t. The Colonials took great care of the ball and may have put together their best offensive performance of the season. They’re normally a defensive minded team and they’ve struggled to put the ball in the hoop. They’re roughly as young as the Dukes, and won’t graduate anybody either. Maurice Joseph’s a really good coach, and when his experience and talent catches up with his chops, GW will grow by leaps and bounds.
The Dukes are tied for third with what feels like the rest of the league. They have the toughest remaining schedule in the conference, and now that they escaped Foggy Bottom with the W, the upcoming three game home stand could define Duquesne’s season. Win three and suddenly, the Dukes are solidly on the NIT bubble and a legit contender for the league championship. Win two of three, you have one great resume building win, and some work to do. Even if you only grab one, you’re still in great shape for a top half finish. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call this the most important stretch of games in a long time. See you at the Palumbo.