Duquesne bounces back with win over Youngstown State
Duquesne's Martins Abele brought teammates to their feet with a few of his rebounds, muscling them away from the rim.
"No one can match his size," teammate Quevyn Winters said, "so it's real fun when he's playing like that."
Abele, a 7-foot-1, 295-pound junior, grabbed 10 rebounds in Wednesday night's 84-74 victory at Palumbo Center in the Progressive Legends Classic, when the Dukes held a 53-29 rebounding advantage over Youngstown State. A season ago, the Dukes (2-3) ranked next-to-last nationally in rebounding margin (337 of 338).
"Rebounding is one of our philosophies that coaches emphasize every day," Abele said.
Against YSU (3-3), Jerry Jones had nine and Sean Johnson added eight. It was a promising sight, even against an undersized YSU lineup with no starter taller than 6-7. Opponents averaged 7.5 rebounds more than the Dukes last season, a trend first-year coach Jim Ferry has attempted to change.
"One of the goals we put on this year's team was to outrebound our opponents," Ferry said. "We don't just talk about it. We do drills every single day. They're physical, aggressive rebounding drills, and I think these guys really responded."
Abele also had nine points in his 14 minutes. A native of Latvia, Abele transferred from Radford to Duquesne last winter, but was deemed academically ineligible after just six game with the Dukes. Since then, he's slimmed down and improved his abilities.
"I thought he was tremendous," Ferry said. "The progress he has made, the kid has really worked hard."
Winters and Derrick Colter led the Dukes with 18 points, and Kadeem Pantophlet added 13, including four 3-pointers.
Duquesne again faced an early 5-0 deficit, when YSU scored two quick baskets in the first 90 seconds. But unlike Tuesday when the sluggish Dukes never recovered, they responded Wednesday with an energetic 17-2 run.
The Dukes made 7 of 14 shots against YSU's zone defense during the five-minute run, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range. A 3-pointer by Pantophlet with 13:35 left gave the Dukes a 17-7 lead.
Limited were the poor shot choices and individualistic play criticized by Ferry after Tuesday's 57-43 loss. The Dukes had seven assists total against North Dakota State. Against YSU, they had 11 assists on their 15 first-half field goals.
For the game, the Dukes shot 45 percent (27-60). Winters made 6 of 9, and Colter finished 6 of 13.
Duquesne had a 42-33 halftime lead. Pantophlet had 10 points and three 3-pointers in those first 20 minutes, when the Dukes shot nearly 42 percent (15-36). That was drastic improvement from Tuesday's effort, when the Dukes made just six of their first 26 shots, including just 2 of 11 from 3-point range.
The Dukes held a 15-point lead at the 10-minute mark of the second half. However, consecutive 3-pointers by YSU's Shawn Amiker had the lead down to 75-70 with 2 minutes left. But the Dukes made 6 of 6 free throws to seal the victory.
Freshman Jeremiah Jones, making his first start, along with Jerry Jones helped hold YSU's Kendrick Perry to 15 points. Perry, who scored 34 two nights earlier at Palumbo, was averaging 18.2 points. Damian Eargle scored 14 points, Bobby Hain had 13 and Amiker added 10 for the Penguins.