ShareThis Page
Home

Dukes hoping to build on opening victory

| Thursday, Nov. 27, 2003

With his third year as coach at Duquesne University having just begun, Danny Nee continues to search for a comfort zone with his men's basketball program.

Perhaps Tuesday night's 77-57 victory over Prairie View A&M at Palumbo Center was a good sign.

"I thought, for the first game, the way things were moving along, that we did OK," Nee said.

Not great, but OK.

"We're still building. We're still in a learning process in terms of execution," said senior Jimmy Tricco, who scored a game-high 18 points for Duquesne.

It has been two years since the Dukes' record last was over .500. They opened the 2001-02 season with consecutive victories over Maryland-Eastern Shore and Vermont before settling into a typical losing pattern and ending with a 9-19 mark in Nee's first year as coach.

"I liked how we won," Nee said of Tuesday's 20-point victory. "Last year, our largest margin of victory was only 11 points. I was comfortable with how we played because we got our bench involved. I can build on it."

Duquesne immediately began the construction process Wednesday morning with a workout at Palumbo Center, where their season continues Saturday afternoon against Siena.

"We have a tough game Saturday," Nee said. "Siena won 21 games last year and got to the third round of the NIT. They've been very successful. They have a very nice basketball team."

The Saints will carry a 2-0 record into their 4 p.m. game with Duquesne (1-0) after routing another Atlantic 10 Conference team, Fordham, 77-59, on Tuesday night.

For Nee, there is at least one thing he was comfortable with even before the season began: The Dukes' schedule.

The Siena game is the second of four home contests to open the season for Duquesne, which also faces Pitt on Wednesday night in the annual City Game and Loyola (Md.), like Siena, another team from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, on Dec. 6.

"This time last year," Nee said, "we had opened up at Pitt (and lost by 15 points), lost a heartbreaker (at home) to Cleveland State (by seven), went to Maryland over Thanksgiving (and lost by 50), and then went to George Mason (and lost by seven). We came back from Thanksgiving 0-4. and it was like we were 'Custer's Last Stand.' It was pretty rough."

In other words, it wasn't a comfortable situation for Nee and his Dukes, who went on to suffer their ninth consecutive losing season.

"I've been here longer than anybody on the team," said redshirt junior Jon Pawlak. "I know what it was like, and now I know what it is like, and it's 180-degree turnaround. It feels really good to know we're going to go out there and compete every night, and if we don't win, it's a disappointment."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me