With news that Duquesne’s three-point marksman, Micah Mason, was out of today’s contest with Dayton, the Flyer Faithful took a breath of relief. Mason’s absence would clearly diminish what was already a considerably one-dimensional offense. It was difficult to imagine the Dukes’ offense scoring enough points to make it a ballgame with a club like Dayton. Then, the Flyers took the floor.
I once spent an afternoon watching puppy car crash videos and I’m not sure today’s Flyer offensive performance wasn’t more horrifying (some of those puppies were clearly intoxicated, so like, fuck them). Duquesne held up their end of the bargain — putting on a woeful offensive display that even a MEAC program would be embarrassed by. The Dukes shot 33% from the floor, an incriminating 2-of-12 (17%) from three point land. Ninety percent of the teams in America, and I’m including every level of basketball (Slamball, wheelchair leagues, men’s leagues), would have used that humiliating performance to turn the game into a rout. Not UD, not in Pittsburgh.
The Flyers laid an egg themselves, never getting untracked on the offensive end. At one point, UD missed 17 straight three-point attempts and seemed destined for failure. The Flyers did end up connecting on a few deep shots, but still finished an anemic 3-of-25 (12%) from behind the arc. When Dayton wasn’t misfiring horribly from the perimeter they were kneecapping themselves inside the paint. UD hit just 37% of their shots as a whole, a complete study in offensive ineptitude for Archie to ponder on the flight home.
The foul-line, ironically, is where both teams laid waste. Once again, it was a virtual stalemate, as the Dukes hit 78% of their attempts to the Flyers’ 77% from the stripe – Duquesne got to the line more, however, racking up 28 attempts to Dayton’s 22. All of these facts and figures underline one thing: this was a horrendous basketball game that someone unfortunately had to win. In the end, Archie Miller and Co. simply made a play or two more to take home the victory.
Individually, there aren’t many kudos to hand out (verbal or chocolatey) to either side. Derrick Colter did all he could do for Duquesne, driving at will and drawing fouls with imperviousness. On the UD side, it was all Charles Cooke. The transfer has been a godsend for the Flyers this season, an immediate impact that gives Archie the type of skills that were missing with the graduation of Jordan Sibert. Cooke was deadly at the line, 9-of-10, and hit two key three pointers – finishing 2-of-4 behind the arc. No one else on the Flyer roster stepped up to support Cooke’s effort, although you could make an argument for SAM FUCKING MILLER (who played plenty, scored a few buckets and didn’t necessarily cause women and children to cry).
Two sticking points from today’s game: No X-Man??? Was my man hurt, Arch? Certainly could have used his energy and rebounding this afternoon. Additionally, Steve McElvene has a lot of work to do on both ends of the floor. The Chief is often out of position and really needs to work on his footwork. You can’t teach 6’11,” but you can instill some basic fundamentals in the big man. This is Archie’s first real project that has significant consequences for the program, let’s see how he does (I’m leaning towards decent).
Dyshawn Pierre had a rather benign second game back, scoring four points and grabbing ten boards. It’s odd watching Pierre play right now, I find myself observing him like he is a freshman once again – the kid’s got potential, he not’s quite there, but the makings of a really good basketball player are apparent. It’s going to take a little more time for him to get acclimated (when we can no longer use this excuse is up for debate). He is extremely passive with the ball in his hands, and seems like he is more concerned with not making mistakes than impacting play. You get the sense that this was supposed to be “his” team this year, and the circumstances surrounding this suspension have completely taken the rug out from under him. Regardless, we want Pierre on that wall, we need him on that wall.
All in all, it’s a conference road win. You never, ever, take those for granted. The Flyers improve to 11-2 on the year, a gleaming 1-0 in league play. Two games on the slate this week, a visit from UMass on Wednesday night followed by a trip out to Philly to take on La Salle on Saturday afternoon. We’ve just cracked the lid on this season, let’s keep it going.