Duquesne’s 30-hour journey home from George Mason this weekend reminded head coach Jim Ferry of his days at LIU Brooklyn.
“That was like the traffic on the BQE every day, so I was somewhat used to it,” Ferry joked. “But no it was I’ve never experienced anything like it and hopefully we’ll never have to experience anything like it again.”
After the Dukes win over George Mason on Friday afternoon, their bus ride home reached a standstill by Friday at 9:15 p.m. on the Pennsylvania turnpike. Their journey from there to home evolved into a national story, where they spent time with a group of Iowa middle schoolers and appeared on SportsCenter multiple times until getting home 30 hours and 24 minutes after their exit from a win over George Mason.
Over the course of the time Ferry and his Dukes were on a bus, the Blackbirds of LIU Brooklyn hosted their local rival St. Francis Brooklyn on Saturday evening in the snowstorm—because the Terriers were able to walk to the gym.
“When we were at LIU we played St Francis we’d walk to the game,” Ferry said. “They should treat it like that Michael Jackson video to ‘Beat It’, you’re just walking to your rumble, walking to the fight.”
“I compared this, this traffic jam was like driving home or driving to work on the BQE, man it was the same stuff. There were trucks, everything backed up. I was fine, I actually felt comfortable.”
Ferry was full of jokes on the Atlantic 10 conference call, hoping that the Dukes’ victory over the snowstorm could give them a 2-1 record in conference play and agreed with one reporter who suggested that at least there were fewer potholes on their bus experience than an experience on the BQE.
As much as their ordeal might have been a chemistry building experience, Ferry said he felt that his group has proven their togetherness since their August foreign trip to Ireland.
“I was really proud of our guys when they handled things the way they went about themselves, reaching out helping those kids in the bus next to us and helping people when they could,” Ferry said. “We just have good guys that are special people in this program and just really proud to be a part of them.”
Now the focus turns to Duquesne’s first home game since Jan. 16, against La Salle on Tuesday night. Ferry and his group practiced on Sunday, treating it like a day after a game, and will hope to get to .500 in Atlantic 10 play against the Explorers.
“It’s been a media circus Good Morning America is here, ESPN, all that other stuff, I wish it was on air because we’re playing good basketball but understandingly it is what it is,” Ferry said of his 13-7 Dukes. “But we have an opportunity in front of us right now to get back to .500 in this league, that’s huge especially in this league, because it’s so brutal.”
“We talked about it. We have to put everything to the side and get to work and I came in early morning yesterday, shut my door and just started chopping up film and doing the same thing today. We just got to move on, we’re back on campus, back in class, let’s just move on and focus on what we’re trying to do here.”
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2015-16 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference among others for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.