Preview: Duke (6-0) v. Duquense (4-0)

Previewing the Blue Devils and Dukes who tip off on Friday afternoon in Cameron Indoor. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN beginning at 3:00 PM EST.


Duke (6-0) vs Duquesne (4-0)
Durham, N.C. - Cameron Indoor Stadium
TV: Fox Sports Net / Tip: 3:00 PM EST

Program Vitals
Conference: Atlantic Ten
Nickname: Dukes
Colors: Red, Blue, and White
Head Coach: Ron Everhart (3rd season)
Career Record at Duquense: 31-32

Projected Starters:
25 Damian Saunders (6-7, 210, So.) – 16.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg
30 Bill Clark (6-5, 205, So.) – 12.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg
32 B.J. Monterio (6-5, 195, Fr.) – 3.0 ppg, 1.5 apg
13 Jason Duty (6-1, 175, Jr.) – 7.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg
 1 Aaron Jackson (6-4, 185, Sr.) – 17.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 7.5 apg

Key Reserves:
 2 Chase Robinson (6-2, 190, Fr.) – 2.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg
 3 Eric Evans (5-11, 195, Fr.) – 9.5 ppg
23 Melquan Bolding (6-4, 190, Fr.) – 5.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg
33 Rodrigo Peggau (6-8, 230, Fr.) - 6.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg

Storylines For Duquesne:

How They Got Here:
It's been a busy start to the 2008-2009 season for the Blue Devils, having played and won six games before Thanksgiving including four games in seven days.

Meanwhile the Dukes are continuing on a similar track have won their first four games, but the trip to Cameron will be Duquesne's fourth game in eight days and fourth straight day on the road. The team left Pittsburgh on Monday for their game against South Carolina Upstate on Tuesday, before chartering a bus to Durham on Wednesday morning. After playing the Blue Devils on Friday the Dukes will return home to get ready for Pittsburgh on December 3rd.

Series History:
This will be the fifth meeting between Duquesne and Duke. The Blue Devils hold a 4-1 all-time lead in the series and a perfect 3-0 mark at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Overall the Blue Devils have a 73-27 mark against teams from the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Duquesne, meanwhile, is 6-20 against teams from the ACC and were 0-11 all-time in ACC arenas before beating Boston College 98-93 at Conte Forum in 2006. Even though he's credited with that win, Ron Everhart was not in attendance to see his Dukes beat the Eagles. He was in a Pittsburgh hospital and unable to coach that game.

Injury Report:
Duke point guard Greg Paulus continues to rehab from an injury to his right forearm. He did not play in Duke's last game again Montana in an effort to continue to heal.

Replacing A Ton Of Production in 2008-2009:
The Dukes welcome back five scholarship players from a season ago, which means several new faces will be called upon to help the club continue to improve. The Dukes lost 59% of their minutes, 68% of their scoring, 56% of their rebounding, 55% of their assists, 53% of steals, and 75% of their blocked shots per game from a season ago.

Connecticut A Recruiting Hot Bed For the Dukes:
The Duquesne roster has a distinct Connecticut flavor this season with three key players coming from that state. Aaron Jackson, a three year starter for the Dukes, is the top returning scorer and assist man and has posted double-doubles in DU's past two games (20 points and 10 rebounds vs. Furman & 15 points and a career-high 10 assists against South Carolina Upstate). Currently Jackson leads the Dukes in scoring and rebounding and assists. Sophomore forward Damian Saunders was a member of the 2007-08 Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team a season ago. He is the team's top returning rebounder and shot-blocker and led the team in steals a season ago. Though he tore ligaments in his left ankle in the Spring, he has fully recovered. Freshman B.J. Monterio is the state's reigning Player of the Year.

Make Sure To Lookout For...
Jackson, who happens to be the team's lone scholarship upperclassman. The 6-4 senior has played in 90 straight Dukes' games and boasts an impressive 1.8-to-1 career assist to turnover ratio. With his size and skill set, Jackson has played the every backcourt position and has spent time at small forward as well. Depsite playing off the ball a good deal, Jackson has managed back to back seasons with 100 or more assists.

Fellow wing Bill Clark returns for a second season after seeing action in all 30 games a year ago. At 6'5 Clark led the team in 3pt makes and attempts, while shooting .313 from beyond the arc. On the defensive side Clark also led the team in charges taken (12).

The third player to see action in all 30 games a season go is Saunders, the team's de facto man in the middle and an all-rookie selection as a freshman. A high school teammate of former KSU standout Michael Beasley, Saunders has started this season with a bang - posting career highs for points (21) and steals (6) against High Point University and then logging his first career double-double (20 points, 12 rebounds) against SC Upstate.

Dukes Want To Run:
Whereas the Montana Grizzles, Michigan Wolverines, and Southern Illinois Salukies all wanted to slow the game down a bit, Duquesne's strategy is to put points on the board. Lots of points. A season ago the Dukes were the highest scoring team in the Atlantic 10, averaging 82.3 points per game - it was the league's highest scoring output since the 1997-1998 Xavier team averaged 83.5 points per contest. Over the past two seasons - both coached by third year coach Ron Everhart - the Dukes have averaged 80.4 points per game trailing VMI, North Carolina, Cal State Fullerton, Tennessee, and Texas State in that category.

Fearless Predicitions
After a much needed break the Blue Devils will return to the court rested and looking to continue the level of pressure defense seen early on this season. Offensively the team is still looking to establish a consistent rhythm as Gerald Henderson continues to establish his role alongside Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer. Look for Henderson to draw the assignment of guarding Jackson and don't be surprised to see more of Elliot Williams and Mile Plumlee in this game as Coach K begins to define his rotation for the meat of the schedule. Duke should win going away, and the style of play preferred by both teams points to a high scoring affair.

Prediction:
Duke 94
Duquesne 73


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