Duquesne's season ends with loss at Richmond

| Saturday, March 9, 2013, 8:06 p.m.

RICHMOND, Va. – Duquesne's season came to a merciful end Saturday when the Dukes dropped a 79-55 decision to Richmond.

It was Duquesne's sixth straight loss and 17th in the past 18 games, leaving the Dukes with an 8-22 record (1-15 Atlantic 10 Conference) and out of the league tournament for the first time since 2006.

None of this comes as a huge surprise to coach Jim Ferry, who was hired in April, 2012, after Ron Everhart was fired and had to cobble together a five-man recruiting class in a little under six weeks.

“When I got here, I knew what the talent level was in this program,” Ferry said. “We didn't have a lot of bodies. We probably should have won at least two more games. We weren't talented enough in this league. We don't have the talent level other people do.

“This is part of a process. You've got to start somewhere. We played hard most of the year. We fought to the end. But now it changes. Now is when we really start to build the program. With the freshmen that are here that did a good job, and building with more recruiting classes on top of that.”

Three freshmen have started the past eight games and have accounted for more than 50 percent of the Dukes' points. Two of them, guard Derrick Colter (18) and forward Quevyn Winters (12), did over half of the Dukes' scoring against the Spiders (18-13. 8-8).

“They're all fine players,” Ferry said. “I don't think any one of them is a star. They have to improve and get better. We have to get players like them and players better than them over the next couple of years to build this program.”

The other freshman is Jeremiah Jones, who had two points Saturday but averages nearly 8.0 points a game. Another player who should help the Dukes is 6-8 UAB transfer Ovie Soko, who had to sit out this season under NCAA rules.

“He's [Soko] an Atlantic 10 player,” Ferry said. “And we're involved with some really good recruits right now. We just have to make sure we get the right kids … that fit our style, fit our program and fit our university to make sure we can build it the right way.”

Colter, who led the team in scoring and assists this year, is ready to start preparing for next season.

“We're going to get better every day,” Colter said. “I'm going to tell my teammates to get in the gym. Shoot about 500 shots every day. Next year, we're going to change it. But we have to trust each other. Build a bond. So when new players come in, we'll bond together and gel and be good.”

With the Spiders hitting eight 3-pointers in the opening half, Duquesne fell behind, 42-26, at the break and trailed by as many as 36 before running off 15 straight points during one stretch of the second half. UR was 12 of 31 from beyond the arc.

“Everything is a learning experience,” Ferry said. “Next year, we've got to start having learning experiences after wins though.”

John Packett is a freelance writer.

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