- "I thought our effort on the defensive end was good throughout the game," said Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart. "I really thought we were sluggish offensively, especially in transition. I was a little disappointed with our shot selection in the first half. I thought we could have made one more pass."
"I loved the way Billy [Clark] shot the ball," said Everhart. "He's been shooting the ball well in practice. Billy's a shooter. I think he got his feet back under him tonight."
Kojo Mensah went 4-of-4 from the foul line to extend his streak of consecutive free throws made to 17.
- "I thought our kids played hard and played well," said Upstate head coach Eddie Payne. Our competitive energy has gotten better since our Texas trip. We had some unnecessary turnovers because of our inexperience. But, I can't fault our players for their effort."
"Depth was a factor in the game," said Payne. "Duquesne runs a lot of people at you."
The game was physical throughout with several Spartans taking their lumps during the game. Nick Schneiders took a shot to the face which resulted in a broken nose for the red shirt sophomore. Luke Payne and Josh Chavis each sustained a concussion, while Bobby Davis also left the game early with a leg injury but returned to the court. Chavis, who took a shot to the head in the first half, did not return to action.
"Our team took a beating today, but they still competed," said Payne.
Senior Jeremy Byrd, a multiyear starter at the point, had been suspended in November "... for violating team rules." Freshman Josh Chavis moved into that slot while Byrd was out of action and has remained there after the senior's return.
- "Mentally we were not prepared to play, not just Shawn (James), everybody," said Duquesne coach Ron Everhart, who continued his recent trend of substituting with two platoons at every couple minutes in the first half and shortening his bench with just seven or eight players after intermission. "I don't think our guys had any idea how good this team was. We were sluggish and lackadaisical on offense early and made bad decisions late."
Shawn James overcame a sloppy start to finish with 20 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks and a steal. He committed most of his four turnovers before the game was four minutes old and South Carolina Upstate held a 13-5 lead.
James, who led Division I with an NCAA-record 6.53 blocks per game in 2005-06 as a sophomore at Northeastern, hasn't been blocking as many shots of late as he did earlier in the season when he set a school record with 12 against Oakland (Mich.) University.
"They don't come at me like they used to," he said. "A lot of guards don't penetrate as much and I'm not being challenged as much."
After a pause for emphasis, he added with a laugh, "I'm not happy about it."
- "That team is a good team. They are a well-coached team. They've been competing for Division II championships," Duquesne's Ron Everhart said following the Dukes' sloppily played, 84-66 victory over the Spartans, who are led by former East Carolina and Oregon State coach Eddie Payne.
"He is the only coach to take East Carolina to an NCAA Tournament (in 1993)," Everhart added. "He also had some early success at Oregon State, and he's doing a good job with this team. They took Cincinnati down to the wire (69-57 loss Nov. 26)."
Because the Spartans (2-11), members of the Atlantic Sun Conference, are in the early stages of Division I, they are required to play a majority of their games away from home, another fact that didn't escape Everhart.
"I bet they win some more of those games if they were at home," he said.
"I see it as the guys not being mentally prepared," Everhart said. "It was a Sunday afternoon game. We had just played Friday night. We were sluggish, lethargic.
"I feel we're a better team that we've shown in the past two games. We better be a better team if we're going to be successful in the Atlantic 10 (Conference)."
Freshman Bill Clark, seemingly having recovered from a severe concussion suffered early this month, had his first career double-double for Duquesne, which extended its best start in 28 years. The last time the Dukes started 9-3 was in 1979-80, when they opened at 12-3 en route to a NIT bid.