Busting Brackets

Duquesne Basketball: 3 keys to home rivalry matchup with St. Bonaventure Bonnies

Duquesne looks to get its first A-10 win of the season against St. Bonaventure, while potentially without Dae Dae Grant again. What are the keys to the Dukes getting the upset?

La Salle Explorers v Duquesne Dukes
La Salle Explorers v Duquesne Dukes / Mike Stobe/GettyImages

Duquesne looks to get its first A-10 win of the season against St. Bonaventure, while potentially without Dae Dae Grant again. What are the keys to the Dukes getting the upset?

Last week was rough for Duquesne Basketball, losing to Richmond and St. Joe's by a combined four points in last-second defeats. They were without Dae Dae Grant, the team's leading scorer, who remains in concussion protocol. Barring an unexpected announcement, he's likely out for Tuesday's matchup with St. Bonaventure.

The Bonnies enter this game with an 11-6 record, including 2-3 in Atlantic 10 play. They've lost 3 of the last 4 games, including a 69-60 loss on the road at George Mason. They've been inconsistent but are capable of being everyone, including a shorthanded Duquesne sqaud.

Here are the keys for the Dukes getting the "must win" on Tuesday night. (Assuming Grant doesn't play)

1. Matus Hronksy having a larger role in the offense

Without Grant, the Dukes still managed to play evenly with the St. Joe's and Richmond guards. Jimmy Clark had a team-high 21 points last game, while Jake DiMichele had 11 points as a starter. The guy who had the most minutes off the bench was Matus Hronsky, who played 20 minutes and had seven points, including the game-tying shot with seconds to go.

After missing most of the non-conference due to an illness, the 6'8 guard/wing has given the Dukes some solid minutes as a capable ball-handler and shooting option. Look for him to get even more looks this time around if Grant isn't around for a third straight game.

2. Defending Chad Venning

The one player who killed the Dukes in the loss to the Hawks was Christ Essandoko, who had a season-high 21 points and 12 rebounds. Dusan Mahorcic was unplayable in this game, while David Dixon struggled against his size. Halil Barre arguably played the best against him in 13 minutes defensively.

Size-wise, Venning is just as big as Essandoko, listed at 6'10 and 280 pounds. He's even more consistent as a go-to option offensively, leading St. Bonaventure with 14.4 ppg and 4.8 rpg in 25 mpg. Duquesne does have the bodies to deal with him but after what happened on Saturday, it's now a concern if they have another that can slow him down.

3. Avoiding "clutch" mistakes at the end

To Duquesne's credit, they've managed to stay in these games without Grant, including coming back from 11 points down at St. Joe's to take a second-half lead. At the same time, for a team with no margin of error, they've made some big mistakes that ultimately cost them. Against Richmond, they in-bounded the ball to center David Dixon, who turned it over after being double-teamed. And versus St. Joe's, an inexcusable over-and-back pass from Barre to Kareem Rozier allowed the Hawks to take the lead again under two minutes to go.

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Duquesne has done well to avoid getting blown out without 20 ppg available but considering the circumstances, they need to start doing enough to win these games. And that includes not making silly mistakes to give their opponents the chance to break their heart again. In what should be another emotional matchup, the Dukes will need to find a way to "win" instead to "lose".