Duquesne Basketball has a chance to get a marquee resume win with a victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Here are the keys for them to win.
Duquesne Basketball has started out the season with a 4-1 record, including a neutral site win over College of Charleston. But the Dukes now take on their toughest opponent to date, a road battle with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who are currently unbeaten on the season.
It’s going to be a tough task for the A-10 program to beat a Big Ten foe but Duquesne has the talent to at least make things interesting. Here’s a look at some keys to the game.
1. Defend frontcourt duo of Rienk Mast and Juwan Gary
Despite not having Dusan Mahorcic (knee) or Tre Williams (thumb) for this game, Duquesne Basketball still has plenty of frontcourt depth. Halil Barre and David Dixon are coming off their best games of the season, while 6’7 forwards Foussenyi and Hassan Drame add versatility and toughness. They’ll need it against Rienk Mast, the 6’9 and 240-pound transfer forward from Bradley who’s having a strong start to the season, averaging 14.8 ppg and 11.2 rpg.
Josiah Allick is an athletic 6’8 forward who can rebound at a high level, while Juwan Gary is putting up 14.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg in two games after an earlier suspension. Duquesne’s strength is that they have the bodies to throw at any mid-major team. But Nebraska can counter that. More importantly, Barre has to avoid foul trouble and stay on the court to make life difficult for Mast.
2. Get an efficient scoring night from Grant and Clark
The top three scorers for the Dukes are all guards, led by All-10 guard Dae Dae Grant and his 20.2 ppg. He shoots over 35% from deep at nearly 10 attempts a game and can get his shot off at any time. Senior guard Jimmy Clark is off to a hot start as well, producing 17.8 ppg and 4.2 apg. They combined for 40 points and six made three-pointers in the win over Charleston.
As good as these guards are, they also can have inefficient nights as well. With not much guard depth outside of a couple of true freshmen, Duquesne can’t afford to have off-nights from the star duo and be able to win the game. Grant may need to have 20+ points to keep the team in the game.
3. Get 20+ points from the bench
Even if Grant and Clark have good scoring outings, it’s not a sure thing the Dukes will have enough to win, since Nebraska has guards like Brice Williams and Keisei Tominaga that can also go off. That’s why it’s key for the underdogs to find some points elsewhere. It’s been a strength so far, with the bench averaging around 23 ppg.
Duquesne doesn’t need one specific bench player to go off, although Fousseyni has had some nice games in extended minutes. But to pull off a road upset, it’s going to be a collective effort. Look for the Drame brothers to be key players in deciding the team’s chances in this matchup.