The Friday night college basketball game on ESPN2 features two experienced teams from the Atlantic 10 conference that began the year with postseason aspirations.
Duquesne entered the season with high expectations in Keith Dambrot’s fourth season as the head coach of this program. The Dukes returned all five starters and seven of their top eight starters from the team last year that finished 21-9. Yet three starters have left the team in the last week. Lamar Norman, Jr. and Sincere Carry entered the transfer portal while Maceo Austin is out indefinitely for personal reasons.
The loss of Carry seems the most significant, with the point guard choosing to transfer to Kent State. The point guard scored 12.2 points-per-game last year while adding 5.3 assists-per-game. Carry was not as productive this season as he was scoring 9.0 points-per-game and averaging 4.2 assists-per-game. Norman and Austin have also seen their numbers decline this season. Norman was scoring only 5.0 points-per-game after posting a 6.1 points-per-game average last year. Austin was contributing 4.8 points-per-game after scoring 7.0 points-per-game a year ago.
Dambrot remains confident in his team after this attrition. Duquesne still has five players that were averaging at least 17 minutes-per-game before those moves. Forward Marcus Weathers leads the team with a 14.0 points-per-game scoring average while adding 6.4 rebounds-per-game. Weathers scored 14.3 points-per-game last year with 8.1 rebounds-per-game.
The Dukes are 3-4 this season after losing at Dayton on Wednesday by a 72-63 score as a 6-point underdog. Duquesne’s highest-profile victory was a non-conference win against UNC-Greensboro on December 2nd. The Dukes are 2-3 in conference play with losses to George Washington and Davidson in addition to their most recent setback against the Flyers. They rank tenth in the Atlantic 10 in both adjusted offensive efficiency and adjusted defensive efficiency according to the metrics at kenpom. Duquesne leads the conference with an opponent’s effective field goal percentage of 46.3%.
St. Bonaventure has won their last three games after they defeated Fordham on the road on Wednesday by a 68-54 score as a 13-point favorite. The Bonnies are 5-1 with a signature victory against Richmond. Their lone loss was against Rhode Island.
Head coach Mark Schmidt has all five starters back from last season's 19-12 squad. Jalen Adaway was a part-time starter for multiple seasons at Miami (OH) who transferred to this group. Five players are scoring at least 10.8 points-per-game this year, with Jaren Holmes leading the way with a 16.3 points-per-game scoring average. Kyle Lofton is adding 13.3 points-per-game along with 5.8 assists-per-game.
St. Bonaventure leads the conference in adjusted defensive efficiency. Opponents make only 26.3% of their 3-pointers against them, which is the lowest mark in the Atlantic 10. The Bonnies are fifth in adjusted offensive efficiency in the conference while leading the A-10 in offensive rebounding rate. BookMaker
lists St. Bonaventure as an 8-point favorite, with the total set at 134.