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Everhart encouraged by Duquesne's growth

| Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011

After playing without a full roster, Duquesne returned home Tuesday from an intense Canadian tour that saw the Dukes play five exhibition men's basketball games in four days in the Toronto area.

They performed OK, said coach Ron Everhart, following the team's only loss, a 96-89 decision Monday night against A-Game Hoops, a collection of Canadian former NCAA players and European professionals.

"I'm excited about having the opportunity to maybe be a little ahead of where we would have been had we not taken this trip," said Everhart, who welcomes five new players, including 7-foot-1, 290-pound center Martins Abele, a transfer from Radford. "We played some really competitive teams. It was great to go against some high-level opponents. These games were a bit more physical than some of our games in the States."

Canadian teams play under the sanction of FIBA regulations, which include elements such as four 10-minute quarters, a wide lane, a different timeouts structure and a 24-second shot clock.

Prior to Monday's lone loss for the Dukes, they had defeated A-Game Hoops, 82-78, in Toronto in the first of a day-night doubleheader on Sunday before routing Brock University, 109-68, in the nightcap in a game played in St. Catharines, Ontario, 70 miles south of Toronto.

"I liked the way our guys responded after a very hard-fought game and the long bus ride," Everhart said. "We were able to see a little of everything."

Duquesne, was without two incoming freshmen — 6-8 forward Mamadou Datt, who is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, and 6-6 Kadeem Pantophlet, who just arrived last week on campus from his native Netherlands.

In addition to Abele, whose transfer was made official yesterday, the Dukes' other newcomers are 6-4 guard/forward P.J. Torres, who sustained a slight ankle sprain against Brock and played sparingly in Monday's tour finale, and 6-4 guard Danny Herrera.

Abele, who has three years of eligibility remaining, likely will sit out this season. But in certain cases, the NCAA has granted schools a waiver permitting immediate eligibility.

Against Brock, the Dukes, who averaged 91.4 points during the five games, played in front of the biggest crowd of the trip, a gathering estimated at 400 for a game that was a last-minute addition with no advance public notice.

"They treated it like a regular-season game," Everhart said. "It was a real-game environment against experienced college-level players. We faced different scenarios with each team. We had to play fast at times and slow at times. For having 10 days of practice and putting together five games in four days, I thought our guys really adjusted well. That's what our season is all about. You have to adapt and make game-time adjustments at different times."

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