Coach Ron Everhart chose to let the experienced Dukes set the tone as he started five veterans with a sixth, a sophomore, second off the bench. The scheme worked against the Bearcats, who were 22-4 last season, their second in the NCAA after a successful run in the NAIA.
Senior Aaron Jackson had 13 points, six rebounds, nine assists and one steal against five turnovers in 28 minutes. Sophomore Damian Saunders, an All-Rookie selection by the Atlantic 10 Conference last season, led with 17 points, seven rebounds, four steals, three blocks, an assist and four turnovers in a team-high 32 minutes of action.
The other three who started were sophomore Bill Clark (12 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 0 turnovers in 25 minutes) and junior walk-ons Jason Duty (8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and zero TOs, also in 28 minutes) and Jimmy Sherwood (6 points, 1 assist, 1 TO in 8 mniutes).
The first player off the bench was freshman B.J. Monteiro, who entered the game with 16:27 to go in the opening period. Thirteen seconds later, Jackson fed Monteiro for a fast break jump shot. The Connecticut native and former high teammate of Saunders, scored 11 points in 24 minutes, fifth highest PT for DU. He also had three rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two turnovers.
Sophomore David Theis, who had seen limited playing time in 11 games as a frosh, subbed for Clark at 13:10. The Pittsburgh native tallied four points to go along with three rebounds, a block, an assist and zero TOs in 18 minutes.
Everhart used nine players through most of the game with Eric Evans (15 points, 4 assists, 0 turnovers in 18 minutes) and Melquan Bolding (3 points, 3 assists, 1 TO in 11 mins.) completing the list. Everhart had indicated during the A-10's media day that he was comfortable with eight or nine players seeing substantial PT.
The 10th was somewhat of a surprise - Rodrigo Peggau -- who saw his first competition in about one year because of a knee injury. He was inserted in Duquesne's lineup at 9:20 of the second half with the Dukes up, 69-48. Peggau played three minutes and scored one point; 1-of-2 from the charity stripe.
Four other players got time in the final three minutes: Aleksandar Milovic at 2:16, Chase Robinson and sophomore walk-on Lucas Newton at 1:36 and Shawntez Patterson with 45 seconds to play. Scoring out of this quartet came from Robinson who hit a three-pointer. Oliver Lewinson was the only player on the roster who didn't see action Saturday.
- Update: Lewinson "... did not dress for the game due to a sprained ankle."
Some other firsts for the season:
- First field goal: Sherwood made a fastbreak layup at 19:40 of the opening half.
- First dunk: Saunders at 19:02
- First block: Saunders at 18:03 of the first.
- First made free throw: Bolding hit one of two with 8:22 to go before the break
- First trey: Clark at 5:43 of the first.
Saint Vincent took its first lead, 10-8, via Billy Bains's jump shot, 15:10 to go in the half. The Dukes tied the score at 21-21 on Bolding's fastbreak layup. Theis, whose layup knotted the score at 23-all, missed the chance to return the edge to DU when he missed the "and-one" free throw.
Clark hit a fastbreak 3-point shot to put the Dukes back on top for good at 26-23 with 5:43 left in the first. The Dukes outscored the Bearcats 13-6 the rest of the way for the 39-27 halftime score.
Duquesne, with its starting five back on the court, got the lead to 20, 50-30, in the first four minutes of the second half. Saint Vincent would cut that number to 16 but DU kept the lead around 20 points. The largest lead was 26 in the final minute.
The Dukes lost the rebounding battle by seven, 32-39 but won the turnover battle, 13-24.
DU shot 53.3% in the opening 20 minutes despite hitting just 2-10 from three-point range and were just 5-of-15 from the charity stripe. DU made 58.1 percent for the game, improving treys to 36.0% (9-25). Free throws finished under 40 percent at .387 (12-31).
But more about those turnovers. After committing 11 miscues in the first, the Dukes had just two in the second, the first coming with 6:47 left to play. And Duquesne assisted on 66.7 percent of their field goals (24/36).
Saint Vincent used the expected starting quintet of returning starters Joey Butler, Mike Medved, Billy Bains and B.J. McGill with sixth-man Tre'sor Kalambay taking the slot vacated by Ian McCollough.
Medved led the Bearcats with 19 points and tied Kalamby with six rebounds. Butler handed out a game-best 10 assists (of the 13 total setups by the SVC team), had a team-best two steals and hit double digits with 10 points.
Another exhibition doubleheader, Division II this time, next Saturday Nov. 8, 2008, with Coach Suzie McConnell-Serio's charges, who beat a former college players traveling squad, Team Essence, 91-44, earlier today, The ladies will take on Clarion at 2:30 p.m. followed by the men versus Seton Hill at 5:00 p.m.