If you only check the Duquesne vs Clarion box score, I don’t think its absurd to conclude that the Dukes played a pretty sloppy game. 17 turnovers, 17 offensive rebounds conceded and 88 points allowed. The Golden Eagles’ 6’6” forward Mike Kromka posted a double – double. These numbers wouldn’t be unacceptable against some of the Division I teams we play let alone a D-II team.
Of course, numbers can be deceiving.
I want to first look at how the minutes broke down in this one. The starters played a combined 128 minutes while freshmen LG Gill and Desmond Ridenour played 24 and 30 off the bench respectively. If the coaches play either of those two for more than 15 minutes a game, you could color me surprised. We didn’t see a normal distribution of minutes on Saturday and I think that certainly impacted the box score.
That said, the starters made efficient use of their minutes scoring a combined 78 points while playing only 64% of the minutes. While the team turned the ball over 17 times, the first unit managed a 16:7 assist to turnover ratio. Derrick Colter in particular looked strong with nine assists. Over 40% of the turnovers were credited to Ridenour who again will certainly play less when the games count.
In spite of a rebounding differential of +18, you could describe the Dukes defensive rebounding effort as frustrating on paper and in person. Rogabee pointed out in his game summary that he thought the Dukes put themselves in good position for rebounds but bad shots and weird bounces prevented them from gathering the ball cleanly. I didn’t notice that, but I also didn’t notice the Dukes starting the break too early leaving their teammates shorthanded to grab the basketball as I suspected they might. The Dukes finished with a defensive rebounding percentage of 66% which would have put them well in to the bottom third nationally last year. That said, Duquesne’s second chances were off the charts at 52%. Last year’s top offensive rebounding team in the country finished with 42%. I’ll consider the competition yesterday and acknowledge that 50% over the course of a season is completely unsustainable. However, the Dukes should off set their below average defensive rebounding with above average offensive rebounding.
In the case of rebounding, you should also consider the minutes distribution. The Dukes got 18 minutes from their best defensive rebounder Ovie Soko and a combined 36 minutes from a pair of freshman bigs who may have redshirted under different circumstances. That said, Ovie needs to stay on the floor by taking fewer poor fouls and getting better positioning. Eight of seventeen offensive rebounds still occurred with him on the floor, but none occurred in his final four minutes while he played with four fouls.
The 88 points conceded is still a little tough to stomach even when you consider that Clarion scored its final 13 points after the Dukes cleared the bench. I can’t even begin to explain Kromka’s dominant performance. However, I wouldn’t read much into the results of the Clarion scrimmage one way or the other because the Dukes didn’t play it the same way they would have played in a game that counted. The results didn’t matter yesterday. The information the coaches got from the performance did.