The skill of the Duquesne Dukes‘ Derrick Colter can’t be denied. The freshman point guard leads a young Dukes offense that includes just one senior and one junior.
Most young teams often have a player that puts up points purely because he’s the most comfortable taking shots, but 5+ assists in nine games this season shows that Colter has the maturity to understand that it will take a total team effort for Duquesne to win games this season.
Tonight, though, the Dukes face a veteran team in the UMass Minutemen, who know a thing or two about spreading the ball around.
Junior point guard Chaz Williams (15 ppg, 7 apg) will oppose Colter and the older of the two should give the other a harsh lesson in ball-handling. Colter averages three turnovers per game on an otherwise decent ball-handling team and Williams could make it a nightmarish night for the Duquesne frosh if he’s not careful.
Furthermore, Colter shoots just 39 percent from the floor, but his relentless motor enables him to get up shots due to volume alone. However, Williams averages nearly two steals per game and isn’t likely to have Colter reach his per game average 12 shots.
Then again, Colter could just as well dump the ball off to Sean Johnson, with whom Colter shares a team-high 13 points per game. Johnson is equally as aggressive as Colter, minus the turnovers. He won’t light it up from three-point range, but he gets to the foul-line often, where he shoots a team-high 78 percent.
Williams doesn’t foul often, but forwards Terrell Vinson, Sampson Carter and Raphiael Putney all average nearly three fouls per game. Making matters worse for the Minutemen is the fact that this will be the second game without defensive whiz and second-leading scorer Jesse Morgan, who is lost for the rest of the season, with a torn ACL.
Though, UMass’ loss, is freshman Trey Davis‘ gain. In his first game with significant minutes, Davis put up 12 points against the Fordham Rams. If Davis wants to make his minutes mean something, he’ll live in the lane and force his way to the free-throw line against a Duquesne team that fouls 19 times per game.
Additionally, Williams needs to find Freddie Riley on the wing for three-pointers and Carter, Caddy Lalanne and Maxie Esho all need to pick up the slack that UMass won’t have from Morgan in the rebounding department. If the Minutemen don’t play over aggressive and can control the tempo of the game, it’ll be a tough one for the Dukes to pull off.
Mike Gillmeister can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter:@mgillmei