Duquesne’s Season Ends at St. Bonaventure

A disappointing season ends in a 83-71 loss to St. Bonaventure. The Dukes were hopeful that they could potentially relive the magic created in Atlantic City in last year’s Atlantic 10 Conference Championship but it was not meant to be. The game remained close until the 14:34 minute mark when the Bonnies went on a 14-0 run to take a 59-45 lead. The lead proved to be insurmountable for the Dukes with the final deficit sitting at 12.

St. Bonaventure earned the right to host an opening round game of the Atlantic 10 Conference championship notching the 7th seed after defeating Duquesne last Thursday and George Washington lost to St. Joseph’s. Thus they hosted Duquesne in a rematch from last week’s contest. In that contest the Bonnies won at home posting a 92-80 final score. In that game St. Bonaventure made nine three pointers and sophmore big man Andrew Nicholson along with senior shooting guard Chris Matthews scored 21 points each.

As Tuesday’s game progressed it appeared a continuation of last week’s affair. Nicholson and Matthews scored even more points notching 25 and 28 respectively. Also, the Bonnies shot a better percentage from three point range boasting a 75 percent 9-12 performance with Matthews going 6-8. The three point shooting performance is not surprising considering it has followed the trend that the Dukes have given up at least eight threes to their last five games. Duquesne’s zone has been attacked effectively from behind the arc the past several games. Consequently, the Dukes Defensive points per Possession has averaged out to a paltry 1.078 PPP. The defense has simply given up too many open shots which have in turn created more open lanes for offenses to attack.  The same occured in last night’s game and the Dukes went down.

Recently the Duke’s offense has been firing well posting 1.062 PPP. However, that still equates for a -.016 margin which does not spell out success. The problem the offense had on Tuesday was the same problem it has been having for the entire season. Going into the game, the Dukes were last in all of Division I basketball in three point shooting percentage with a 26.4 percent mark. In this game the Dukes put up 21 attempts from long range and made 5 or 23.8 percent of their attempts. Simply put, that is too many attempts for a team that shoots so poorly from behind the arc. However, it is difficult with the lack of a true post pressence to run an offense not based around the perimeter. If a team is going to run a four guard offense there better be some guys who can shoot. This is a warning for next season. If this system is going to work guards are going to have to make their shots.

Altogether, the loss last night displayed several of the flaws of a team that finished the year one game over .500. It still felt as if the Dukes were better than their record. Ron Everhart and his club underachieved in a year when they were slotted to finish fifth in the Atlantic 10. Hopefully, there were lessons learned that will carry over to next season with only one departure (Jason Duty) and the arrival of exciting recruits T.J. McConnell and Mike Talley. Duquesne may not have relived the magic of last year’s Atlantic 10 tournament but there’s much to look forward to next season.