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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 9, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Rose Hill Gym (3,470) -- Bronx, New York. Television: YES Network. Home Record: Duquesne 6-1, Fordham 2-1. Away Record: Duquesne 1-5, Fordham 0-8. Neutral Record: Duquesne 0-1, Fordham 2-2. Conference Record: Duquesne 0-0, Fordham 0-0. Series Record: Duquesne leads, 18-12.
GAME NOTES: The Duquesne Dukes try to avoid falling below the .500 mark as they tip-off their Atlantic 10 season with a tilt against the Fordham Rams at Rose Hill Gym.
Jim Ferry's Dukes dropped to 7-7 on Dec. 29 when they were defeated by 10 points by Penn State in their final non-conference test. The setback was the second in a row and dropped Duquesne to an unimpressive 1-5 in away games. The Dukes' lack of success this season is due to their lack of stopping power as their opposition is producing 72.7 points per game, while they are netting just 70.3 ppg themselves.
Fordham has shown steady improvement in recent weeks with a 3-3 record over its last six games and a perfect 2-0 mark at Rose Hill Gym during that span. Tom Pecora's squad is still just 4-11, despite the recent improvement as it won just once while star forward Chris Gaston was absent for six games with an injury. The Rams collected an 82-71 victory over Monmouth on New Year's Eve before they were downed by 27 points at Ole Miss on Friday. Fordham is last in the A-10 in scoring margin as it is being defeated by an average of 10.3 ppg.
The Dukes have won the past four meetings between these schools to extend their all-time series lead to 18-12. Duquesne earned a 77-67 decision in last season's encounter in Pittsburgh.
Duquesne could not match Penn State offensively its last time out. The Nittany Lions sank 42.4 percent of their field goal attempts including 8-of-20 from 3- point range, while the Dukes shot 37.3 percent from the floor and connected on just 9-of-31 shots from beyond the arc. Senior guard Sean Johnson led the Dukes with 19 points, while freshman Quevyn Winter and Derrick Colter tallied 14 and 13 points, respectively. Johnson is pacing Duquesne by scoring 13.4 ppg. Colter has been elected the A-10 Rookie of the Week twice already and is producing 13.2 points and a team-best 4.7 assists per contest. Winters and Jerry Jones are both providing a spark off the pine with 8.6 points per tilt each.
The Rams are the only team in the conference giving up more points per game than Duquesne, and their revolving door on the defensive end was apparent during their visit to Oxford. Ole Miss poured in 50 percent of its shots from the field and added 22 more points at the charity stripe, while Fordham went 26-of-67 from the floor (38.7 percent) with just nine made free throws. Ryan Canty registered his third double-double of the year with 15 points and 10 boards before fouling out. Bryan Smith added 14 points and Mandell Thomas chipped in 12. Branden Frazier, who leads the team with 15.7 points and 5.1 assists per game, finished just 3-of-9 for six points in the loss. Gaston played just 16 minutes, but he still carries decent 14.1 point and 7.1 board per contest averages.
Fordham will probably not win too many Atlantic 10 bouts this season, but it has a shot in this one. The Dukes are talented, but their youth and inexperience has led to a poor record on the road. If the Rams receive a bounce back performance out of Frazier, they should be close at the end.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Duquesne 73, Fordham 67
01/09 10:36:11 ET