Dukes at Saint Louis for Wednesday TV Game

Duquesne (14-6, 5-2), off to its best overall and best conference start since 1980-81, heads to St. Louis to face the Saint Louis Billikens (12-9, 3-4) on Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 7:00 p.m. (Eastern) The game will be televised regionally by CBS College Sports and will air on tape delay on FSN Pittsburgh at 11:00 p.m.

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DUQUESNE (14-6, 5-2) at SAINT LOUIS (12-9, 3-4)
Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009 • 7:00 p.m. (EST)
Chaifetz Arena (10,600) • Saint Louis, Mo.

TELEVISION: CBS College Sports Regional syndication with Ryan Ruocco & Steve Wolf
**The game will air in Pittsburgh on tape delay at 11:00 p.m. on FSN Pittsburgh**
DUQUESNE RADIO: KQV-AM (1410) with Ray Goss & George Von Benko
STREAMING AUDIO: RedZoneMedia.com
LIVE STATS: GameTracker at SLUBillikens.com

DUKES AND BILLIKENS MEET IN ST. LOUIS

Duquesne (14-6, 5-2), which off to its best overall and best conference start since 1980-81, heads to St. Louis to face the Saint Louis Billikens (12-9, 3-4) on Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 7:00 p.m. (Eastern). The game will be televised regionally by CBS College Sports (will air on tape delay on FSN Pittsburgh at 11:00 p.m.).

The Dukes, who are 6-3 on the road, face a SLU team that is coming off an 88-58 win at Fordham on Saturday.

The Dukes and Billikens are a study in contrasts as SLU averages 60.0 ppg. while surrendering 57.7 ppg. Duquesne, which has scored 285 points in its first three A-10 road games, is averaging 80.2 ppg. while giving up 74.0.

SLU has ranked among the nation's leaders in 3-point field goal defense (.269) all season, while Duquesne is averaging 8.8 3-point makes and 24.6 attempts per game (.356). One thing both schools have in common is their youth.

Duquesne and Saint Louis were the only two schools to open the season with eight scholarship freshman (both have since lost one - DU to injury and SLU to transfer).

Six players are averaging in double figures for the Dukes in conference play led by Aaron Jackson at 17.3 ppg. DU's three leading scorers, Jackson (17.1 ppg. overall), Damian Saunders (14.0) and Bill Clark (12.9) are all shooting better than .500.

Saint Louis is led by seniors Tommie Liddell (13.0 ppg.) and Kevin Lisch (12.8). The Billikens are 10-2 at home in the brand new 10,600-seat Chaifetz Arena.

DUQUESNE LATELY

  • Duquesne, one of the youngest teams in the nation with eight scholarship freshmen and one scholarship upperclassman, is off to its best overall & conference start since 1980-81.
  • DU saw its longest win streak in 28 years (seven games) snapped in the Jan. 17 78-69 loss to Dayton.
  • Senior PG Aaron Jackson (17.1 ppg.) is one of 34 preseason Bob Cousy Award nominees (nation's top collegiate point guard).
  • Jackson ranks in the Top 5 in six different A-10 categories: FT% (2nd), ast/TO ratio (2nd), assists (3rd), scoring (4th), steals (5th) & FG% (5th).
  • Damian Saunders (14.0 ppg.) is 2nd in steals (2.15 spg.), 3rd in FG% (.581) & rebounding (8.0 rpg.) and T3rd in blocks (2.05 bpg.).
  • Jason Duty is tied for first in the A-10 in 3-point pct. (.429).
  • Six players are averaging in double digits in conference play.
  • Duquesne has scored 285 points (95.0 ppg.) in three conference road games.
  • Bill Clark has scored 39 points (19.5 ppg.) in his past two games.
  • A win would give DU its best conference start in school history.

THE SERIES

This is the eighth meeting between Duquesne and fourth-year Atlantic 10 member Saint Louis ... last year, seniors Kieron Achara (24 points), Gary Tucker (14 points) and Reggie Jackson (12 points) led the Dukes to an 85-58 Senior Day win over SLU at the Palumbo Center ... two years ago, DU - on the second leg of a road trip that started with a 48-point loss at Saint Joseph's (89-41) - came away from SLU's Scottrade Center with a 73-63 win ... the Billikens returned the favor with a 78-77 win over the Dukes in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Championship at Atlantic City, N.J. ... Duquesne leads the overall series 5-2 (2-1 in A-10 regular season play) ... Saint Louis notched its first series win three year's ago at the Palumbo Center by a 70-57 score ... SLU is one of three teams the Dukes will face this season ... DU swept the season series with St. Bonaventure and is 0-1 against Dayton ... Duquesne hosts Saint Louis and is at Dayton in the last two regular season games.

    A victory over Saint Louis would:
    • Give Duquesne its best conference start in school history. DU joined the Eastern 8 (the precursor to the A-10) prior to the 1976-77 season.
    • Give Duquesne seven road wins for the first time since the 1970-71 Dukes went 8-2. The Dukes enter the game with a 6-3 road record.
    • Give DU three road conference wins for the second-consecutive season. The school record for conference road wins is four by the 1980-81 Dukes (4-3).
    • Move the Dukes within one win of clinching their second consecutive winning season. DU's last winning season prior to last year (17-13) was 1993-94.

WILL THERE BE NAP TIME?

With a total of 15 freshmen and 20 underclassmen on the two combined rosters, don't be surprised if juice boxes take the place of Gatorade on the team benches. Duquesne and Saint Louis, who were the only teams to start the season with eight scholarship freshmen, are among the youngest (if not the youngest) teams in the nation. SLU has five freshmen averaging double-digit minutes, while DU has three. Sixty-six percent of Duquesne's scoring is coming from underclassmen to 46.2 percent for SLU.

SBU LEFTOVERS

Notes from Saturday's 74-68 win over St. Bonaventure

  • Duquesne shot a season-low .359, was outrebounded 52-27 and trailed by five with just over four minutes left
  • The Dukes held the Bonnies to an opponent season low 28 second-half points
  • DU also turned it over just once in the final 20 minutes
  • St. Bonaventure led 40-39 at the half despite turning it over 20 times in the first 20 minutes
  • Damian Saunders finished with 11 points, five rebounds, three blocks and three steals despite picking up his fourth foul with 16:38 left
  • Bill Clark, who finished with 17 points, picked up his fourth foul at the 15:43 mark
  • Duquesne, which entered the game averaging 17.8 assists per game, tied their season low with nine on 23 field goals

CONN MEN

A trio of Connecticut natives are playing key roles for the Dukes in 2008-09. Four-year starter Aaron Jackson, a Hartford native (Northwest Catholic) who has posted three double-doubles this season and topped the 30-point mark twice (a career-high 36 - and school record-tying 15-of-17- at Radford and 30 vs. Charlotte), leads the Dukes in scoring (17.1 ppg.) and assists (5.8 apg.) and is second in rebounding (5.7 rpg.) and steals (1.8 spg.). Sophomore forward Damian Saunders, who attended Waterbury Crosby High School, was a member of the 2007-08 Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team. Saunders, who underwent successful surgery in early May to repair a torn ligament in his left ankle, opened the season with a then career-high 21 points and a career-best six steals vs. High Point and added double-doubles (20-12) at USC Upstate, at No. 7 (AP) Duke (22-10), vs. NC Central (18-10) and vs. Charlotte (12-11). DU's third player from the Nutmeg State is 2008 Hartford Courant Connecticut State Player of the Year B.J. Monteiro. Monteiro, was a freshman and Saunders a junior on a Crosby team that won a 2004-05 state title. Monteiro, who has played in 18 of 20 games with five starts, added a second state crown at Crosby last year.

DEADEYE

Aaron Jackson, a career .509 shooter who is converting at a .534 rate this season, began the week as the 5th-best shooting guard in the nation . Jackson is still ranked among the nation's leaders despite going 13-of-38 from the field (.342) in a three-game stretch (vs. Dayton, at Saint Joe's and at Fordham) while playing with a painful bruised tailbone.

A LITTLE LOVE

Jackson was named to SI.com's All-Underrated Team by John Gasaway of Basketball Prospectus on Jan. 30. The list, designed to recognizing the "nation's most under appreciated talent," was based on two criteria: "1.) You must be having a phenomenal season while playing a major role on your team and 2.) Must be someone who should be but is not usually included in any garden variety discussion of the best players in the country at your position. In the story, Gasaway says "Jackson's case is interesting because it demonstrates how a player that flourishes as a senior is almost always overlooked. If you're going to play the way Jackson is playing point guard this season, better to to is as a freshman or even as a sohomore, so that your name can get out there." The story goes on to compare Jackson's stats to those of a "mystery sophomore" who turns out to be Wake Forest's Jeff Teague. "Teague should be given a bit of a break here because hte plays a more prominent role in his offense than Jackson does. My purpose, however, is not to ding a great player like Teague, but merely to suggest that Jackson too is having a great year."