After a 5-game losing streak, Duquesne Basketball is hoping to make it five straight wins right back if they can beat the Davidson Wildcats.
Last weekend was arguably the best Duquesne Basketball has looked all season, coming off an 85-71 victory on the road at Rhode Island. After a five-game losing skid, the Dukes have won four straight overall, including three in the Atlantic 10. They're back home with a matchup with Davidson, a team who beat them in Pittsburgh last season.
The Wildcats are currently 2-6 in league play, having recently lost to Loyola-Chicago and VCU. They're vulnerable enough for the Dukes to win but they've struggled with this program. Here's a look at the keys to victory for Duquesne.
1. Finding the right opening lineup
There was yet another lineup change for Duquesne to start the game, with Kareem Rozier coming off the bench for the first time. The result wasn't good, with them trailing by as much as nine points and having six early turnovers. Once he came in, the sophomore guard had his best game in a while, scoring 11 points on 3/6 shooting and more importantly, having four assists to zero turnovers. He had a team-high +17 in the first half when they were up 10.
Another note is that Halil Barre had a good seven minutes on the court, better than what happened with Dusan Mahorcic to start. David Dixon is the best frontcourt player for the Dukes but since he gets two fouls every two minutes, he should come off the bench. Duquesne was at its best when Rozier and Barre started and with everyone healthy, that could be the ideal opening lineup again.
2. Take advantage of David Skogman's likely absence
Duquesne has struggled against frontcourts in A-10 play and quietly enough, Davidson has one of the bigger rosters in the league. Reed Bailey and David Skogman are 6'10 forwards averaging at least 11.0 ppg and 5.0 rpg as starters. Considering that both of them can rebound, the Dukes would've had an issue against them.
However, Skogman, who has dealt with foot issues this season, has not only missed the last two games but is reportedly doubtful for this matchup with Duquesne on Wednesday. 6'10 Sean Logan has taken his place but he's a non-factor offensively, as well as 6'7 bench forward, Hunter Adam. So Duquesne will still need to focus on Bailey but considering the struggles against frontcourt players, dealing with one 6'10 big instead of two is a break in their favor.
3. Getting Jimmy Clark's shot back on track
While Dae Dae Grant's 31 points was the star performance, the play of the game for Duquesne was a nice move from starting guard Clark against Rhode Island that went viral.
This helped make up for what was an off-game by his standards. Clark had 10 points, five rebounds, and five assists but also six turnovers, most of whom were early on. Offensively, the senior guard has struggled from the field, shooting a combined 13/42 (31%) and 3/15 from deep.
Clark's ability to get to the free throw line has helped his numbers overall and he had a big role in Duquesne's comeback win over Chicago State late. But they're going to need him to make some perimeter shots again to maximize the offense. Grant and Rozier broke out of their slumps last game, it might be Clark's time next game.