West Virginia (4-3) at Duquesne (5-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 11, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: CONSOL Energy Center (19,758) -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: West Virginia 2-0, Duquesne 4-1. Away Record: West Virginia 0-1, Duquesne 1-2. Neutral Record: West Virginia 2-2, Duquesne 0-1. Conference Record: West Virginia 0-0, Duquesne 0-0. Series Record: West Virginia leads, 50-36.
GAMES NOTES: The West Virginia Mountaineers will try to extend a three-game win streak when they land at CONSOL Energy Center for a non-conference clash with the Duquesne Dukes.
Since a disappointing 1-3 start, West Virginia has turned the season around with wins in its last three games. The most recent victory was the most thrilling of the year, as Juwan Staten converted a driving layup with five seconds remaining to earn the Mountaineers a 68-67 win over Virginia Tech. West Virginia is now 4-3 overall this season. Next up for the Mountaineers is a road contest against No. 3 Michigan.
Duquesne secured an 88-70 victory over New Orleans to earn its fourth win in five games. Before the recent run of success the Dukes had been struggling as well, with losses in three of their first four contests. Duquesne has gone 4-2 in the city of Pittsburgh and 0-1 at CONSOL Energy Center this year. The loss was a 66-45 defeat to cross-town rival Pittsburgh. The Dukes, who are 5-4 overall, face Robert Morris on the road next.
With wins in each of the last eight meetings, West Virginia has extended its all-time series lead to 50-36 over Duquesne. The last meeting occurred during the 2010-2011 season when West Virginia posted a 64-61 win in a game also held at CONSOL Energy Center.
Staten didn't have a field goal until his game winner against Virginia Tech but he picked an excellent time to get his first. The Mountaineers had let a 30-24 halftime lead slip away down the stretch against the Hokies but were able to escape with the win despite shooting 35.3 percent in the game. The difference was West Virginia's shooting from 3-point range as they outscored the Hokies 30-15 from long distance. Kevin Noreen came off the bench and recorded a double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds) to lead the way.
Shooting from beyond the arc has not been a real strength or important part of West Virginia's gameplan this year. The Mountaineers have attempted only 111 shots from 3-point range which is the 305th most in the nation. West Virginia is also only connecting on 27.0 percent of those shots. Overall West Virginia is only hitting on 39.8 percent of its field goal attempts but still managing to score a respectable 71.1 points per game. The Mountaineers are outscoring (+5.0) and out rebounding (+6.1) opponents by decent margins. There is not one dominant scorer on the roster. Aaric Murray (10.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and Deniz Kilicli (10.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg) are tied for the team lead in points per game while ranking first and second, respectively in rebounding. Staten (10.3 ppg) is normally able to manage more than just a single field goal, while Gary Browne (8.3 ppg) adds a spark off the bench.
Duquesne was able to ease by New Orleans but shooting at a 49.2 percent clip for the game, while holding New Orleans to just 40.3 percent shooting. The Dukes also had sizable advantages in points from beyond the arc (30-15) and on the boards (54-28). Duquesne scored 38 points in the paint and had 23 second chance points as well. Sean Johnson turned in a well-rounded effort scoring 21 points, grabbing six rebounds while handing out five assists.
Just like West Virginia, Duquesne scores at a relatively solid rate (70.1 ppg) despite shooting a less than stellar percentage from the field (41.2 FG percentage). The Dukes are also holding solid edges on the glass, bringing in 40.9 rebounds per game which is the best mark in the Atlantic 10 and the 27th best in the nation overall. Where the Dukes differ is on the defensive end where they allow an even 70.0 points per game on 42.8 percent shooting. Johnson (12.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg) is the top scoring option on the team but like many of his teammates suffers from an inconsistent shooting stroke (38.7 FG percentage). Derrick Colter (10.4 ppg, 4.7 apg) also shoots less than 40 percent from the field but has managed to facilitate the offense. Quevyn Winters (9.7 ppg) shoots at a better percentage (45.8 FG percentage) but does the majority of his work close to the basket. Andre Marhold (5.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Kadeem Pantophlet (5.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg) are the top rebounders.
Neither of these teams have the type of offensive firepower to run out to a big lead. The Mountaineers get the edge in a game at that pace with their ability on the defensive end and efforts on the glass.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: West Virginia 70, Duquesne 66
12/11 10:40:13 ET