Escape from Pittsburgh

Escape from Pittsburgh
Courtesy of Steven Wright/Flyer News

Courtesy of Steven Wright/Flyer News

The manner in which Duquesne lost today’s game against UD reminded me of the way many UD teams used to lose games under Brian Gregory. After building a seemingly insurmountable lead, riding Ovie Soko’s hot hand, against a Dayton team that was completely off-kilter offensively, the Dukes packed it in during the second half and allowed UD to get back into the game.

[pull_quote_center]“It’s basketball — you have to score,” Ferry said. “This isn’t soccer.”[/pull_quote_center]

Duquesne extended the margin to 18 with nineteen minutes left in the game and proceeded to take their foot off of the gas. UD quickly went on a 11-0 run, capped by 9 points by Jordan Sibert, and pulled to within seven with just over fourteen minutes remaining in the contest. Eventually, Dayton found a rhythm offensively, the Dukes tightened up and started taking bad shots early in the shot clock and next thing you know the Flyers were within five points with 4:41 left in the game. The Dukes were held without a field goal over the final 7:51 of the game and the Cagers escape with a three-point victory over Duquesne, 57-54.

Courtesy of Steven Wright/Flyer News

Courtesy of Steven Wright/Flyer News

Not an inspiring win, and certainly not the type of win that will turn heads, but it was a necessary victory — one that keeps UD in the NCAA Tournament bubble discussion with two and a half weeks left in the regular season.

That’s six straight wins for the Flyers, who are one win away from their first perfect February since 1971. The victory over Duquesne pushes the Flyers to 19-8 on the year, a respectable 7-5 in conference play. It also means UD will finish the season with a wining record on the road, no small feat for this program.

[pull_quote_center]“We’re excited,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said, “but we’re also very fortunate.”[/pull_quote_center]

The next four games will be a stringent test for UD as the remaining regular season matchups for the Flyers are all against RPI Top 50 programs. The games are split evenly, with two games on the road (St. Joseph’s/Saint Louis) and two games at home (UMass/Richmond). The game this Tuesday night against SJU figures to be vital — as the chances of UD snagging a road game at St. Louis are unlikely. A loss to the Hawks would realistically mean a 2-2 record would be UD’s ceiling. That’s not terrible considering the competition, but a 3-1 performance would alleviate a lot of pain. So, yeah, big one in Philly this week, guys.

CBS Sports’ take:

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Tom Blackburn is a proud U. o' D. alum. He loses faith in humanity one day at a time, but not in you, you seem like you are all kinds of alright. Charter member of the T-Man fanclub.
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