SLU vs. Duquense: A Rundown Diary

Categories: College
SLU defeated Duquense at Chaifetz Arena last night, 78-74 in overtime. Here's a log of the game, updated this morning to include a few pictures and the highlights from coach Rick Majerus' post game comments. 

Pre-game notes:

  • The Billikens are coming off an impressive 88-58 at Fordham in which they shot a remarkable 63 percent from the floor. SLU may not be going to the postseason anytime soon but at least they're not the doormats of the conference anymore. How much does Fordham have to suck to lose by 30 at home to this team? 
  • The arena's PA announcer just provided this bit of enlightenment: Duquense is actually pronounced "Doo-CANE." A wise man once asked, "If you beat a team whose name no one can pronounce, does anyone notice? And does it help your RPI?" Let's just call them the Dukes, their mascot, that way Dick Vitale might get confused and accidentally use "Rick Majerus' and "BABY!" on national TV. 
  • Tom Timmermann at the Post-Dispatch reports that these teams are "polar opposites" SLU allows 57 points per game, Duquense scores 80. They run a college version of the Mike D'Antonni's "seven seconds or less" offense that worked so well for Steve Nash. It's also a great formula for mid-major teams that want to make a run in the NCAA tourney. Stockpile a bunch of three point sharpshooters.
  • Both teams have seven freshmen on their rosters. I wonder if the Dukes' coach points this out at every opportunity? 
  • Aaron Jackson is the Dukes' star, averaging 17 ppg, 5.7 rebs, 5.8 assists. At 6' 4" he'll be a tough matchup for the SLU guards. Liddell will probably be charged with shutting him down. 
First Half: 

19:41 Willie Reed is starting and it's about time. Oh wait, he misses a wide open lay-in on the first shot of the game. Slick Willie, very slick. From the sidelines, the SLU coaches are imploring their team to box out. 

18:15 Reed bites hard on a pump fake, leaving his man wide-open for an easy bucket. Where's Brian Conklin when you need him? Eberhardt checks in for Reed. They need him to continue play well if they're going to win.

15:39 Eberhardt has a nice reverse lay-in. He created his own shot there---oh wait, now he's getting burned on defense for a lay-in and one. Eberhardt makes a face like he just wet the bed. Assistant coach Porter Moser is livid, very loudly calling Eberhardt something that rhymes with "Mother ducker"  

13:22 Eckerle is guarding Jackson. Saying this is a huge mismatch is like saying Rick Majerus is chubby. Jackson takes the inbound and scores easily, out-jumping Eckerle in the paint. Lisch now guarding Jackson, who scores easily again. 

11:23 The arena is barely 3/4 full, with most of the upper sections completely desolate. Sadder is the fact that the student section (see pic) is about half empty, and would be worse if it weren't for what appears to be the women's basketball team filling the upper two rows. The only advantage SLU gets from the student section is the people who wave flags behind the hoop during free throws. Cameron Crazies they ain't.



Student Section.jpg
 
8:45 Jackson does a crossover that unties Kyle Cassity's shoes en route to an easy lay-in. I would tell you how many points he has but a Best Buy logo just took over every video screen in the building. It's like being frozen inside a bad TV commercial when they get all the screens in this place showing ads at the same time. 

6:22 Beautiful give and go between Liddell and Eberhardt for a much needed bucket. Liddell can be so smooth, he's a little like Tracy McGrady at times. Unfortunately, T-III is as inconsistent as T-Mac. 

3:00 Liddell settles for a few head fakes and a long pull-up jumper with a few seconds left on the shot clock. When he's settling for contested outside shots like that it's not a good sign for the team's FG %. 

Halftime: SLU has to like the pace of the game, holding Duquesne to 33 points, down 33-30. Should be tied but SLU gave up an inexcusable three on the last possession. That's all this team does and that's what the coaches are screaming at them to prevent. Still, they're dictating the pace of the game and holding the Dukes to 2-8 from three point land. Eberhardt lead the Bills at the half in both points and pouty faces. Second Half:

19:38 Lisch starts out with solid D on Jackson (11 points on 5-7 shooting in the first half), forcing him to pass when he was within feet of the basket.

19:18 Mitchell comes off of screens at the top of the key so tightly, he's almost always isolated at the top of the key against a slow post defender. He looks like Tommie Frazier running the option on those plays, penetrating or dishing. In this case he hits Lisch on the wing, who misses the open shot. Still, nice work from Mitchell. In other news, he kind of looks like a mouse. Maybe it's the tail-like cornrows.

16:17 The Dukes are dictating the pace now, the second half has been a flurry. This is wide open, transition basketball but the Dukes are committing too many turnovers and not sinking enough three's. Up 39-38, SLU is still very much in it.

14:31 Jackson hits a three. SLU is really getting sucked into the open-court offense. There's been a string of about six turnovers, with Lisch spinning and leaving his feet with no one to pass to. A Dukes traveling violation and two steals for Cassity, who's getting the ball passed to him so often by Duquesne at this point he might as well be wearing a red and blue jersey.

12:43 Strong finish, dunk and one by Reed. That's why he's going to be the best player of this class. That was an athletic play. He YouTube'd the Dukes' Damian Saunders.

9:20 Kyle Cassity comes out of nowhere for a nice block in the paint. He damn near jumped out of the gym right there. Somewhere, Woody Harrelson is smiling proudly.

5:08 The PA announcer says it's Brett Thompson's birthday. As a present, Majerus kept him on the bench. He's well rested for his drinking binge at Humphrey's tonight.

3:16 Nice little tear drop runner from Mitchell. He reminds me of Nate Robinson when he pulls that shot.

2:32 Liddell goes baseline for a dunk. T-Mac style.

2:23 Ref calls a cheap foul on Lisch off of the ball, the fans don't like it. Takes a little momentum from SLU, which has clearly had the upper-hand for most of this second half, now up 62-56 after two free throws from the Dukes.

2:22 SLU can' get the ball in with Duq's full court press. Second time that's happened this half.

2:00 SLU continues to struggle to get the ball in versus the press, loses movement on inbounds, then when they finally get it in, quickly turn it over in transition. As I typed that, they turned over another inbounds right under the hoop and Duq botched the easy lay-in. 62-59, SLU.

1:16 Jackson takes the ball and drives easily on Cassity. Eberhardt fouls him. They had no chance of stopping that. This is exactly like the Kent State overtime loss earlier this year where SLU had no answer for the other team's dominate player down the stretch. Majerus is yelling at Cassity during the FT's, looks like Lisch will try and guard Jackson during the last 1:16.

00:51 Duq misses a quick three, SLU ball. This game is theirs to lose. Lisch misses a 18 foot fade away. Not a good look in that situation.

00:5.5 Jackson misses a three from the corner for the go ahead points, almost draws a foul from Lisch on the play -- it was close but clean, he got a hand in his face. Eberhardt fouled, FT's to decide the game pending. He misses both,of course, then Jackson hits an off-balance three, a terrible shot and definitely not what he was going for to tie it and send it to overtime. Just like the Kent State game...

Overtime:
Eberhardt is milling around the team huddle, not taking a seat and not listening at all to Majerus' attempt to rally the troops. His face says that he wet the bed again:

Eberhardt.jpg
Keegan Hamilton
Eberhardt

4:18 Lisch hits a tree as the shot clock expires, crowd goes nuts. They needed that, the air went out out of the place after the Dukes tied it. Duq promptly ties it back up w/ another three.

2:30 Jackson does it again to Cassity, he about fell over on that crossover. He comes out, Eckerle takes Jackson.

1:00 After two Lisch FT's, Jackson drives and scores easily. They have no one who can guard him. This will come down to SLU FT's and some luck in a Jackson miss.

00:29 SLU misses a three, a good shoot to make sure they get the ball back, then has the possession arrow go against them after Reed gets tied up on the rebound. Now the ball is in Jackson's hands with a chance to send it to another OT or win w/ a three. Somehow Jackson gets fouled, away from the ball not on the shot, but misses one. The crowd and the SLU bench is letting the refs have it for that call.

00:12 Lisch misses second FT, Reed rebounds scores and gets fouled. Great play. Game, set, match. And makes the FT to boot, making him 8-10 for the game. That's impressive considering an air ball was always a viable possibility with every one of his attempts from the charity stripe early in the year.

Majerus Post-Game:

"With missed free throws, turnovers, bastardized lineups and foul trouble, we never quit. We just hung in there and kept coming back. Victory favored the consistency of our effort. It was a tribute to their stick-to-it-iveness."

On the late foul called against SLU away from the ball: "A phantom call"

On guarding Jackson: "Lisch got in foul trouble, he's so much more athletic than Paul. Paul's gotta do it with guts and a motor."

On both teams being young: "You're playing with seven freshman and a walk-on in Eckerle. They're (Duquesne) very athletic and deep. They're like we are, not as young, but they play more veteran players."

On Thompson not playing: "There was no chance for Brett to play against this team (because they are too athletic.)"

The line-up: "I can guarantee Kyle Cassity won't start next game."

On the student section: "Attendance was good, considering. I wish the students would come but I guess we gotta earn that."


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