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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, January 12, 2:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: A.J. Palumbo Center (4,406) -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: La Salle 5-1, Duquesne 5-3. Away Record: La Salle 1-3, Duquesne 3-1. Neutral Record: La Salle 2-2, Duquesne 0-1. Conference Record: La Salle 1-0, Duquesne 1-0. Series Record: La Salle leads, 38-30.
GAME NOTES: The La Salle Explorers shoot for their first three-game win streak of the season, as they tangle with the Duquesne Dukes in Atlantic 10 Conference play at the A.J. Palumbo Center on Sunday afternoon.
Twice previously the Explorers have put together back-to-back wins this season, but they have yet to push their run of success beyond that. Thanks to a win against local rival Penn (76-57) last weekend and a 76-72 triumph over George Washington on Thursday night in the conference opener, La Salle can give it another go at that elusive third straight victory.
As for the Dukes, they started out the campaign rather rough with just three wins in the first eight outings, but the squad has come alive of late with a win streak that has been stretched to five, albeit against some weak competition. On Wednesday, the program opened league action with an 87-81 win over Fordham at home.
The good news for Duquesne is that the squad has already matched its entire win total from a season ago when it was 8-22 overall and a dismal 1-15 in conference.
The Explorers lead the all-time series by a count of 38-30, but in Pittsburgh it is Duquesne that holds an 18-13 edge.
Sam Mills tallied a game-high 17 points, shooting 5-of-7 behind the 3-point line, as La Salle got over on the George Washington Colonials earlier this week at Tom Gola Arena in Philadelphia. Tyrone Garland accounted for 15 points and Tyreek Duren 13, to go along with five assists, but the latter shot just 4-of-12 from the field as the squad connected on a solid 48.9 percent from the floor in the meeting.
Of the 70.4 ppg being produced by the Explorers on the season, the majority of that is coming from Garland (13.9 ppg), Jerrell Wright (13.3 ppg) and Duren (13.0 ppg), while Steve Zack closes in on double-digit scoring with his 9.7 ppg and keeps the team tough in the paint with 9.2 rpg. Seen as one of the best all-around guards in recent history for La Salle, Duren leads the program with 51 assists and 23 steals, but it is still difficult to get beyond his mere 37.9 percent shooting from the floor.
Four starters for the Dukes ended up in double figures in the win against Fordham on Wednesday night, the list headed by Ovie Soko who not only posted 29 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the floor, he also pulled down nine rebounds. Dominique McKoy did Soko one better on the glass and pulled off a double-double with his 10 points, while Derrick Colter and Jeremiah Jones responded with 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Soko, who has scored in double figures in all but one game this season, is by far the most productive offensive performer for the Dukes with his 18.9 ppg. Were it not for the fact that he tends to get into foul trouble and has been disqualified twice, Soko would surely be producing even more on offense, and on the glass where he paces the group with 8.8 rpg. Tra'Vaughn White (12.8 ppg) and McKoy (10.2 ppg) lend a hand on offense, the latter shooting a stellar 70.3 percent from the field.
Generating a hefty 79.8 ppg, the Dukes are an efficient offensive squad that is averaging just 10 turnovers per contest, a number that should factor into their win this afternoon.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Duquesne 77, La Salle 73
01/12 10:23:50 ET
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