Saint Louis (12-5) at Duquesne (7-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 23, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: A.J. Palumbo Center (4,406) -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania . Television: None. Home Record: Saint Louis 11-2, Duquesne 6-3. Away Record: Saint Louis 0-2, Duquesne 1-7. Neutral Record: Saint Louis 1-1, Duquesne 0-1. Conference Record: Saint Louis 1-2, Duquesne 0-4. Series Record: Saint Louis leads, 8-7.
GAME NOTES: Playing just their third true road game of the season on Wednesday night, the Saint Louis Billikens head to Pittsburgh where they will challenge the Duquesne Dukes in Atlantic 10 Conference action.
After losing just three times through the first 15 games, the Billikens now find themselves with their first losing streak of the campaign. The team had a nine-game win streak snapped by Temple back on Jan. 12 in Philadelphia, and then followed that up with an 82-80 overtime loss to visiting Rhode Island this past Saturday.
As for the Dukes they, along with Dayton, are the only teams in the A-10 still without a league victory at this stage. Over the weekend, Duquesne lost for the seventh time in the last eight outings in a 90-63 blowout decision versus nationally-ranked VCU at home. With the defeat the Dukes are now 0-4 in conference play.
Heading into this meeting, the Billikens hold a slim 8-7 advantage in the all- time series with Duquesne. Saint Louis has won three straight matchups and five of the last six overall. The last win for the Dukes was a 67-45 decision at home two years ago.
In a game that featured 11 ties and 21 lead changes, the Billikens went to overtime against Rhode Island and watched the visitors knock down all 10 attempts at the free-throw line in the bonus session. Kwamain Mitchell tried to give the hosts a fighting chance as he tallied a game-high 29 points, shooting 7-of-10 behind the 3-point line while also handing out seven assists and making six steals. Cody Ellis tacked on 21 points off the bench as he too shot well on the perimeter (4-of-6), the team converting 14-of-26 beyond the arc. Mitchell, who missed 11 games coming out of the gate this season, had scored just 35 points total in his previous five outings for the Billikens which means his scoring burst was rather unexpected. Then again, this is a Saint Louis team that relies heavily on keeping scores low, to the point where it is producing just 66.3 ppg and giving up 57.5 ppg. Mike McCall Jr is the leading scorer with 11.2 ppg, one of four in double figures.
Duquesne led by a basket very early in the meeting with the Rams over the weekend, but the hosts found points very hard to come by through the first 20 minutes of action as they fell to a 44-18 deficit at the break. Derrick Colter tallied a team-best 15 points for the Dukes, but at the same time he was charged with five of the unit's 19 turnovers as well. Coming off the bench, Quevyn Winters accounted for 12 points and Jeremiah Jones 10 more as the team was outscored in the paint, 36-18, and was beaten on the glass by VCU as well, 42-29. Through four conference games, Duquesne has been beaten down by the opposition by an average of more than 13 ppg, but much of that has to do with the crushing defeat versus VCU. Nevertheless, the defense for the Dukes in those games has allowed foes to convert 40.4 percent behind the 3-point line and 48.2 percent from the floor overall. Sean Johnson (16.3 ppg) and Colter (14.3 ppg) have been the most aggressive performers at the offensive end of the court.
Duquesne hasn't been all that great at slowing down A-10 opponents so far this season, but even if the Dukes keep the scoring to a minimum, that will still work in favor of the Billikens on Wednesday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Louis 69, Duquesne 62
01/23 10:34:10 ET