Duquesne downs Clairon at Palumbo Center
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Duquesne point guard Derrick Colter laid a pass high off the backboard so new teammate Ovie Soko could dunk with style.
This year's frontcourt certainly doesn't resemble last year's.
Junior college transfer Dominique McKoy had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Soko scored 17 in a 103-88 exhibition victory over Clarion on Saturday at Palumbo Center. The Dukes scored 72 points in the paint.
The two forwards were among six players making their debuts.
“We didn't have forwards like this (last season),” said second-year coach Jim Ferry, whose team finished 8-22 a season ago, 1-15 in the Atlantic 10, “forwards that could really catch the ball on the move and play fast. We do now.”
Duquesne's first points came on a dunk by Soko. McKoy showed his skill when he ran the floor, took a no-look pass and dunked.
The front court was a last season ago, but Soko (6-foot-8, 225) and McKoy (6-8, 215) provide Duquesne with reason for optimism.
The regular season starts at 2 p.m. Saturday when Abilene Christian visits Palumbo Center.
“Ovie's a monster in there, and so is Domo,” said sophomore small forward Jeremiah Jones, one of three returning scholarship players. “If you throw it down there, and the (other) team's not going to double, then they're going to score. There's definitely a lot more confidence (in the frontcourt).”
In turn, that should boost perimeter play that last season relied too heavily on 3-pointers.
Jones, who drove often, had 19 points and nine rebounds. Colter had 16 points, nine assists and just two turnovers. Freshman guard Desmond Ridenour had 12 points.
Gateway graduate Mike Kromka had 22 points for Division II Clarion. Marques Jones added 20 points.
Duquesne held a 55-35 halftime lead. A layup by McKoy with 5:08 left pushed the lead to 30 points.
McKoy, an Atlanta native, attended Cowley (Kan.) Community College. Soko, a senior, sat out last season after transferring from UAB.
The pair combined to make 17 of 24 shots against an undersized Clarion lineup, including 10 of 14 for McKoy.
“Any time you can pound it inside, that works,” Soko said.
Also debuting were junior guard Tra'Vaughn White, and freshmen L.G. Gill and Darius Lewis.
“We're trying to get some of these young guys experience,” Ferry said. “We've got so many new faces, so many new young guys.”
Notes: Duquesne played without senior Jerry Jones, who was suspended two games for violating a team rule. ... The school has not yet heard from the NCAA regarding the eligibility of sophomore transfer Micah Mason or freshman Jordan Robinson.
Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.
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