Dayton (18-8) at Duquesne (11-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 22, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: CONSOL Energy Center (19,000) -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: Dayton 11-4, Duquesne 6-7. Away Record: Dayton 5-3, Duquesne 5-6. Neutral Record: Dayton 2-1, Duquesne 0-1. Conference Record: Dayton 6-5, Duquesne 3-9. Series Record: Dayton leads, 46-21.
GAME NOTES: Off to their hottest start to the month of February since 1986, the Dayton Flyers hit the road to tangle with the Duquesne Dukes in an Atlantic 10 Conference matchup at CONSOL Energy Arena.
The Flyers notched their fifth win in a row on Wednesday as they cruised to a 65-53 decision over La Salle. Coach Archie Miller had never won five consecutive A-10 games during his tenure with the school. Dayton has stepped up its play on the defensive end, allowing only 65.6 ppg and forcing 14.6 turnovers per game during the span of the five-game streak. The Flyers are in the middle of the pack in the conference standings and all four of their remaining games are versus schools ahead of them in the league race.
Duquesne will be making its third appearance at CONSOL Energy Arena this season following a tough 71-67 loss at St. Bonaventure. Coach Jim Ferry's squad lost to Pittsburgh and Penn State at its second home during its non- conference slate. The Dukes' setback to the Bonnies marked their fifth loss in six games and dropped their A-10 ledger to 3-9. Although six different players are netting seven ppg or more, Duquesne is ranked just sixth in the conference with 74.2 ppg.
This will be the 68th meeting in history between Dayton and Duquesne. The Flyers own a 46-21 all-time series lead after their 72-56 rout of the Dukes in last season's encounter at UD Arena.
Dayton has been efficient offensively, shooting 45.5 percent from the floor and 37.3 percent from beyond the arc. Jordan Sibert and Devin Oliver are tied for the team-lead with 12.3 ppg. Dyshawn Pierre and Vee Sanford average 11.5 ppg and 9.7 ppg, respectively. Sibert has done most of his damage from the perimeter as 59 of his 105 makes from the floor have come from 3-point range. The 6-foot-4 junior guard had a solid showing versus the Explorers on Wednesday, finishing with a team-high 17 points. Oliver, who also pulled down a team-best 6.8 rpg, registered a double-double with 14 points and 12 boards and starting center Matt Kavanaugh posted 16 points. The Flyers managed to outscore La Salle, 22-9, in points off turnovers.
The Dukes struggled to get stops throughout the campaign and rank second to last among A-10 programs in scoring defense with an allowance of 74.7 ppg. Duquesne nearly ended overcame a 14-point deficit at St. Bonaventure as it trailed by two points with possession in the closing seconds of regulation. However, Derrick Colter missed a pair of attempts at the charity stripe and the Bonnies put the game out of reach at the foul line on the other end. Colter and Ovie Soko scored 12 points apiece, while Micah Mason spearheaded the charge with 14 points. Soko, a transfer from UAB, has excelled for the Dukes with team-leading averages of 18.2 ppg and eight rpg. Mason is adding 10.2 ppg and Dominique McKoy (9.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg) also plays a vital role on the interior.
Duquesne's homecourt advantage will be reduced due to the venue. The Flyers are making a serious push towards the NCAA Tournament and cannot afford a hiccup in Pittsburgh. Dayton will try to put this one out of reach in the opening 20 minutes against the inferior Dukes.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Dayton 76, Duquesne 62
02/22 10:18:39 ET