Duty calls for Dukes' lone senior member
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In another season of surprises — good and bad — the trick for Duquesne guard Jason Duty and his band of on-again, off-again teammates is to keep on keeping on.
Duty plans to do just that starting today, when he will be honored on Senior Day at Palumbo Center prior to a 1 p.m. ESPN2 telecast featuring the Dukes and Dayton. The game is a rematch of the Flyers' 78-72 overtime victory at the University of Dayton Arena on Jan. 9.
Duquesne is expecting one of its larger crowds for the Dukes' annual "Red Out" promotion designed for fans to wear red attire.
"I definitely don't want my career to be over," said Duty, Duquesne's lone senior and a former walk-on. "There's been ups and downs, but there's a chance to make this a real special ending. We've only got four games left in the regular season, but you can't look at it like it's over yet. There's still time. Anyone can get hot, and with the way we went last year, we can do it again."
In their last outing four days ago, the unpredictable Dukes (14-12, 5-7 Atlantic 10) earned a six-point road victory at Charlotte, giving them their second consecutive win. It also broke a pattern of alternating victories and losses over the previous eight games.
Now comes another stiff test at home today against Dayton (18-7, 7-4), which survived Duquesne's previous challenge.
Forget those two free-throws misses in three attempts by Duty near the end of regulation that allowed the teams' previous game to enter OT, where Dayton scored the first seven points and held on to win.
Duty surely has, especially after he calmly sank two foul shots in the closing seconds of the Dukes' 83-77 victory at Charlotte four days ago to help seal the victory.
"That was the first time I've had an opportunity like that since the Dayton game," he said. "It brought back some confidence."
For Duty, a former Vincentian Academy star, finishing the season with another improbable run to an A-10 Tournament championship game would cap his college career.
"Jason is the ultimate example of a success story," Dukes coach Ron Everhart said. "He came to college with no intentions of playing basketball and will leave having been part of the best stretch of Duquesne basketball in recent years."
Duty, a two-time CoSIDA ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District 2 selection, has played in a team-high 104 career games with 69 starts.
Injuries to his shoulder and ankle slowed Duty this season. He struggled with his 3-point shot after ranking among the league leaders last season.
But he said he's fine now, and on a Senior Day at Palumbo Center, Duty will be lauded for his contributions to the monumental turnaround of the Duquesne program.
"It may not seem like it, but I can get emotional," Duty said. "I'm going to try not to be, but I definitely think this is going to be the last chance I'll get to be introduced in front of a large group of our supporters. I never thought I'd be someone to be introduced in front of a big crowd.
"That's pretty awesome."Additional Information:
Dayton (18-7, 7-4 Atlantic 10) at Duquesne (14-12, 5-7)
When/where: 1 p.m. Sunday/Palumbo Center
TV/radio: ESPN2/KQV-AM (1410)
Favorite: Dayton by 4.5
Series record: Dayton leads, 43-19
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