Dukes 4-0 With 92-77 Win At Oakland (Mich.)

Duquesne's men's basketball team start in the 2007-08 season in now 4-0 with the Red and Blue's 93-77 win Tuesday night in the Grizzlies' Athletics Center O'Rena in Rochester, Michigan. (Now includes box score)

At least a few fans in the stands - including Gary Tucker's grandparents - were looking for a Duquesne win. The Dukes and the grandson responded; Gary set a career high with 18 points.

Kojo Mensah scored 20 points with Bill Clark adding 16 and Aaron Jackson 12 points. Mensah and A-10 Rookie of the Week Damian Saunders grabbed 13 rebounds each and Shawn James had a career-best 12 of DU's 15 blocks.

James led the nation in 2005-06 with a NCAA record-breaking 6.53 blocks per game at Northeastern as a sophomore. (He transferred to DU last year.) His previous top mark was 11 against James Madison in that season.

The Dukes had 66 rebounds while Oakland pulled down 55. The 11 rebound margin was a little short of the DU's Atlantic 10 leading mark (14.3).

The second road win on this 5-day trip also gave DU their first victory against the Grizzlies. OU defeated the Dukes in the initial two, a 67-53 home loss last season and a 77-53 defeat in Michigan in 2005-06.

Duquesne hit the first basket and kept the edge for all 40 minutes. Oakland got within one, 8-7, only to see Duquesne run off 11 straight points for 18-7 edge, extend the lead to 24, and took a 14-point margin (48-34) into the locker room.

Oakland fought backed in the second period, reducing the deficit to 10 points (50-40). But this is a different Duquesne this year.

The Red and Blue took control, extended the second half margin to as many as 20 points and taking a 16 point win.

    Duquesne had been outscoring opponents in the last frame by an average 30.7 points. Tuesday it was just one (44-43).

Senior guard Brandon Cassise led four double-digit OU scorers with 22 points. Junior small forward Derick Nelson put in 20, 5-foot-11 sophomore guard Johnathon Jones 12, and senior 6-foot-10 center Shane Lawal added 10 points and five blocks. Senior big man Patrick McCloskey grabbes a game-high 16 rebounds.

The last time Duquesne started a season with a 4-0 record was in 1986-87. Coach Jim Satalin's team took four home wins versus Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), Rutgers, Slippery Rock and Robert Morris. DU then traveled to North Carolina where then Number-15 NC State stopped the streak via 82-59 win over the Dukies.

Don't need to go far to find the last 5-0 record. It was in Coach Satalin's previous season (1985-86) that DU opened with home wins over IUP and Iona and road victories against Robert Morris, Rutgers and Saint Francis (PA). An 82-60 loss to Canisius ended that year's run.

Next up for DU is Niagara on post-Thanksgiving Saturday, this time at 2:00 p.m. on Duquesne's Palumbo Center court.

As always (though previously unstated, thanks to RedZoneMedia.com, Duquesne Media Relations and Ray Goss and George Von Benko.

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