Round 1 of the Pro-Am Playoffs

By Steve DiMiceli

The summer league continues tomorrow for the The Lair who won in convincing fashion to advance over UPMC 78-52.  GNC was eliminated in a injury filled contest against SPK. Individually, six Dukes scored in double figures.
In game one, seventh seeded GNC faced number two SPK led by Pitt freshman Mike Young. It was bad news for GNC early when Jordan Robinson left the game with what appeared to be a sprained right knee. He sat out the rest of the game with it iced but was walking under his own power afterwards. Before halftime, Darius Lewis also left the game to have a cut above his eye bandaged. He missed much of the second half though he did eventually return. With the two Duquesne post players out, Young had an absolute field day scoring 36 points

-n spite of losing their two big men, GNC kept themselves in it for much of the game. Derrick Colter played small forward defensively as his team was forced to go with three players under 6'2''. It was a hot and cold night for the Duquesne tandem of guards. Colter struggled early while Tra'Vaughn White could not buy a bucket from the thirteen to the seven minute mark of the second half. White was his electric self in the first, but missed a series of three make able layups that allowed the game to get out of hand. Colter did everything he could to keep his team in it but ultimately they fell well short in a game they would have had a strong chance to win if healthy. Overall, I can't complain about the performance of either player. Colter finished with 25 while White chipped in 5 assists to go with his 22 points.

Robinson opened up the game with 5 points and 3 quick rebounds before leaving. He looked strong and confident and I was disappointed to see him hurt.  Lewis never established himself offensively, but looks much stronger on the glass compared to when I saw him for the first time on July 1st.

In game two, The Lair trailed UPMC 2-0, but that was their only lead of the game. A pair of freshman, Desmond Ridenour and Devin Williams of WVU, took charge early. Williams has improved immensely over the course of the summer league to the point where I finally see why he was regarded as 4 star prospect out of high school. He has good footwork and a nice finish in tight as well an developing, but inconsistent jump shot. With Aaric Murray out of the way, I think Williams could challenge for a starting spot immediately. Ridenour hit an early jumper and got to the glass for a nice finish and foul. All around, he had a great game scoring, distributing and, most impressively, defending Pitt guard Josh Newkirk. Newkirk has gotten to the rack at will this summer, but for the most part, he was stifled by the Dukes' new combo guard. Ridenour finished with six points in each half

 The last time the The Lair had a big second half lead, they melted down. Tonight they stepped up. LG Gill got hot after the break hitting two three's and connecting on a few ally oop dunks to close with his league high total of 17 points. Ovie had 5 rebounds in the last two minutes to approach a 20-20 for the third time in the tournament. He finished with 23 and 18 while adding 5 assists. He's been playing with less flash the last three games but in general he seems more in control. Jeremiah Jones was solid but not spectacular. He did a nice job defensively against Lucky Jones at times though Lucky definitely had the better of that match up overall.

The Dukes came to win tonight. The Lair pulled off their game, but GNC never really had a chance. The Lair move on to face South Hills Audi who have been incredibly tough especially with Lance Jeter in the lineup. This is where the PRO part of league's name comes from with Ronald Ramon, Chevy Troutman, John DeGroat as well as Jeter all getting paid in Europe. Nolan Cressler of Cornell has impressed to the point where he is getting some national attention for his performance. If The Lair play as well as they did against UPMC, we should be in for an exciting game tomorrow.