Matt Derenbecker had a new look for the Duquense game, sporting a buzz cut for the first time this year.
But the sophomore wing still had the same sweet shooting stroke Dayton fans have been seeing for nearly six weeks.
Getting one of his longer stints of the season with 18 minutes, Derenbecker knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the first half to help the Flyers nudge ahead of the plucky Dukes in a 72-56 win. He finished 2-for-5 from beyond the arc and is 23-for-43 in the last 11 games.
“He’s getting longer windows,” UD coach Archie Miller said. “He’s earned them. He’s earned them the right way. In conference play, he’s shooting a great percentage. He’s not turning the ball over as much. He’s playing pretty hard for us.”
Working his way back from a preseason concussion, Derenbecker failed to get off the bench one November game and played a combined nine minutes against Alabama and Miami.
But the 6-foot-7 Louisiana native has become a fixture in the rotation, subbing for Devin Oliver and Dyshawn Pierre. He even played a couple of possessions at a guard spot.
“He not only deserves that, but playing these (starters) heavy, heavy minutes isn’t going to serve us well in February,” Miller said. “The more role he can carve out, we can get a more balanced attack and protect from foul trouble.
“He gives us that added element when you have a guy out there that can change the game from behind the (3-point) line. The other team has to know where he is at all times.”
Short-handed: Guard Khari Price, a key sub, suffered a thigh injury after being kneed midway through the first half and left the bench area to get treatment. He returned for second-half warm-ups but didn’t play again.
His status for the Xavier game on Wednesday is uncertain.
“He had a very, very hard time just walking,” Miller said. “He’s going to have his work cut out for him getting ready for Wednesday. He actually played on a pretty bad sprained ankle Wednesday (against Fordham) as well. He’s dealing with a few bumps and bruises right now.”
Frustrated coach: First-year Duquesne coach Jim Ferry isn’t accustomed to losing. He’s coming off two straight trips to the NCAA tournament at LIU-Brooklyn, going a combined 52-15 in those seasons.
He was particularly troubled over how the Dukes let a tight game unravel.
The Flyers fell behind, 20-13, with just under eight minutes to go in the first half. They had six turnovers and also allowed five offensive rebounds, leading to six second-chance points. They started 5-for-16 from the field.
UD was averaging about a point per minute, and the Dukes aren’t a slow-tempo team, either. They were giving up 74.5 points per game and 79.6 in their first five A-10 games.
But the Flyers went on a 17-4 surge to finish the half with a 30-24 lead, getting points from seven different players while scoring on eight of their final 12 possessions.
UD then scored the first seven points of the second half to build a comfortable lead.
“Our margin of error was so small,” Ferry said. “We’re down six at half, we come out and we get four layups to the rim, a wide-open jump shot, and we don’t make any of them. Instead of it being a tie game, we’re down 12. We’re not asking you to make half-court shots backwards. We’re asking you to make shots.
“We’ve got to get in the gym more, we’ve got to shoot and we’ve got to recruit guys who can make baskets.”
Board bullies: The Flyers have won the rebound tussle in all five A-10 games. They had a 42-31 edge against the Dukes and are plus-47 overall in the conference.