Dukes seek upset of 19th-ranked Billikens

Jan 22, 2014 - 3:59 PM Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The 19th-ranked Saint Louis Billikens take aim at their 11th straight win on Wednesday night, as they visit the Duquesne Dukes in an Atlantic 10 Conference clash at the Palumbo Center.

Saint Louis has really turned it on over the last two months, with 10 consecutive wins since suffering a 70-65 defeat to Wichita State on Dec. 1. The Billikens are now 17-2 overall, including perfect marks on the road (6-0) and in conference (4-0). They will be in action again next Wednesday against Richmond.

Duquesne has dropped three straight games entering this contest. The string of losses has come on the heels of a five-game win streak for the Dukes, who are 8-8 overall, including a rather pedestrian 5-4 at home. They will host St. Bonaventure in the second part of this quick homestand.

The Billikens have won four straight and six of the last seven meetings with the Dukes to grab a 9-7 lead in the all-time series.

In their most recent outing, the Billikens thrashed Fordham in a 70-48 final. Dwayne Evans posted a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds in the win, during which the Billikens held the Rams to a mere 29 percent shooting. Saint Louis also claimed a 47-36 advantage in rebounds.

Suffocating opposing team is the key for the Billikens, who rank in the top-15 nationally in scoring defense (57.3 ppg), assists allowed (9.5 apg) and opponent field goal percentage (.381). Evans (15.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg) represents the top offensive weapon for the squad, and the 6-foot-6 forward has scored at least 18 points in three straight contests and has recorded three double- doubles on the campaign. Jordair Jett (12.3 ppg, 4.7 apg) is third in the league in assists and is coming off a near triple-double against Fordham, when he scored 18 points, collected nine rebounds and handed out six assists.

Duquesne was on the wrong side of a rout when it faced Virginia Commonwealth last Saturday. The Dukes were defeated, 80-65, thanks to a meager 35.1 percent shooting effort and 17 turnovers. Derrick Colter only made 3-of-10 shots from the floor, but finished with a team-high 13 points.

The team's top scorer, Ovie Soko (17.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg), was really held in check against VCU, as he finished with only seven points, all coming from the free- throw line, while also turning the ball over a team-high four times. Without Soko performing at his normal pace, the Dukes were unable to keep up with their scoring average (77.1 ppg), which ranks second in the league. Tra'Vaughn White (11.2 ppg) is the club's second scoring option, splitting time as a starter and reserve. Colter (10.2 ppg, 3.8 apg) runs the point and Dominique McKoy (10.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg) is reliable up front.

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