Duquesne Basketball has a chance for a signature resume-building win against Santa Clara. What do the Dukes need to do to win?
After a buzzer-beating win over Bradley in Arkon, Duquesne Basketball remains on the road, playing in Las Vegas against one of the top teams in the WCC. Santa Clara is 8-5 on the season, coming off a loss to San Jose State. They have wins over Washington State, Oregon, and Stanford so this is clearly a team capable of competing with most teams.
But losses to Utah State and San Jose State also show the Broncos are vulerable to losing as well. For a chance at a Quad 3 neutral site victory that could pay off down the road, here are some keys to the Dukes winning.
1. Exploit frontcourt advantage
There's two injury notes that'll be important in this game. For Santa Clara, they may not have 7'0 center Christoph Tilly (8.3 ppg and 4.2 rpg), who missed the last game for undisclosed reasons. He had 18 pts in the win against Oregon and without him, leaves UVA transfer Francisco Caffaro, someone who isn't much of a scoring threat.
On the other end, Duquesne is expected to have the debut of Dusan Mahorcic, a 6'11 transfer center from NC State. He's a big body that can rebound and defend and adds veteran experience to the Dukes' frontcourt. He's likely to play limited minutes but any value he adds will be important in this and future games.
2. Handle Santa Clara's size on the perimeter
Duquesne may have the size advantage inside but the Broncos can counter with a trio of 6'6 scoring guards outside. Adama Bal (15.5 ppg), Carlos Marshall (15.0 ppg), and Tyeree Bryan (9.2 ppg) are the top scorers and all can shoot over 40% from deep. Duquesne isn't natural deep with its backcourt, as Kareem Rozier (5'9), Dae Dae Grant (6'2), and Jimmy Clark (6'3), will all be giving up size there.
And that could very well cause some foul trouble to occur to avoid giving up three-pointers. Clark, in particular, has a tendency to get into foul trouble. As the best perimeter defender on the team, the Dukes can't afford anything to happen to him on Saturday to have a shot.
3. Impact from the Drames and Necas
One thing Duquesne can do to match with the Broncos on the outside is to play one of the Drame twins at the 3-spot. With Mahorcic and Tre Williams back and starting forward Andrei Savrasov playing his best basketball as of late, that's likely what'll happen down the road to get them on the court.
But just as big of an x-factor is Jacob Necas, the 6'8 freshman guard/forward who can play the 2-4 positions. Against Bradley, he played most of the second-half, playing a key defensive role in the comeback. Duquesne can play him minutes against Santa Clara as well to avoid the size disparities.