Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Atlantic 10: Duquesne Dukes Try to Avenge Recent Loss vs. Spiders

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Atlantic 10: Duquesne Dukes Try to Avenge Recent Loss vs. Spiders

Article excerpt

A month ago, after Richmond whacked Duquesne, 75-58, at Palumbo Center, the Spiders would have been the last team the Dukes hoped to see in a one-or-done game in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament.

But Richmond will enter the postseason having lost its final four games regular-season games while Duquesne finished on the rise. The Dukes have won three of six and took the other three to the wire with a chance to win in each in the final 30 seconds.

Tonight, the 10th-seeded Dukes will get its shot at revenge against the seventh-seeded Spiders in a first-round matchup at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

"We're fighting for a championship," sophomore guard Micah Mason said. "That's our main goal, obviously. Right now, we think we can play with anybody."

It's a homecoming for second-year Duquesne coach Jim Ferry, a Long Island native who spent 10 seasons at LIU Brooklyn and took the Blackbirds to the NCAA tournament in 2011 and 2012. The Dukes practiced this week at LIU Brooklyn's gym, and Ferry said he will have plenty of family and friends tonight in the stands.

This will be Duquesne's first tournament appearance under Ferry. They were one of four teams left out of the round-robin a year ago before the Atlantic 10 expanded the tournament to include all 13 teams.

"We're too big of a conference not to [expand]," Ferry said. "When you look at it, we're going to get six teams into the NCAA tournament. When you look at the Big East, ACC, the Big Ten, everybody is in their tournaments. We were short-cutting ourselves last year by not [having that]."

Ferry said the "resilient" Dukes are "really clicking right now," but it'll take a far different effort to defeat Richmond. The Spiders jumped to a 17-3 lead Feb. 12en route to an easy victory.

"We have to play with more of a sense of urgency defensively," Ferry said. "I thought we were a little concerned with their Princeton offense -- the back-cuts, the intricacies -- and our guys were thinking too much instead of playing. …

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