Dukes Smother High Point, 84-55

PITTSBURGH - Damian Saunders scored a career-high 21 points and added a career-best six steals as Duquesne used an 18-0 first half run to defeat High Point, 84-55, in the season-opener for both schools.

Short Box Score


Aaron Jackson and Bill Clark added 14 points each for the Dukes who jumped out to a 43-15 halftime lead.

Pittsburgh native Eugene Harris led High Point with 15 points.

Duquesne led 8-5 when freshman B.J. Monteiro hit a pair of free throws at the 14:51 mark to begin DU's run. Saunders hit a fast break layup, Chase Robinson buried a 3-pointer and Aaron Jackson added a steal and a dunk to put the Dukes up 17-5. The lead reached 26-5 before High Point's David Singleton ended a 6:13 scoreless streak with a 3-pointer.

Duquesne, which forced 17 first half turnovers, built its lead to 28 at the half. Saunders had 16 and Jackson and Clark scored 10 each in the opening 20 minutes.

High Point would get no closer than 28 in the second half.

"I was really pleased with the way we guarded the basketball," said Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart. "Our guys came out with a lot of energy and enthusiasm."

All eight of Duquesne's freshmen played with Monteiro and Melquan Bolding scoring seven points each. Robinson finished with five and Oliver Lewinson added four.

"A lot of guys got some desperately needed minutes tonight," said Everhart. "We did a good job of guarding the basketball. We'll see if we can build on that."

Duquesne shot 52.6 percent from the field while holding High Point to 35.3 percent. The Dukes outrebounded the Panthers 42-24.

"We've taken a lot of pride in our defense from day one," said Everhart. "We were in attack mode for most of the night. I'm excited about where our guys heads are right now."

Damian Saunders, whose previous career high was 19 set in last year's opener against Howard, was 8-of-11 from the field. He also blocked three shots, hit a team-high three 3-pointers and handed out three assists.

"Damian is one of those `stat sheet stuffers,' said Everhart. "He's so athletic and he plays hard. He did a great job tonight."

Duquesne returns to action on Thursday, Nov. 20 at Saint Francis, Pa. Tip time is set for 7:00 p.m.

NOTES

• Saunders' 21 points in 22 minutes eclipsed his previous career high of 19 set in last year's opener vs. Howard ... his six steals were the most by a DU player since Reggie Jackson's seven at Saint Louis on Jan. 6, 2007.
• True freshman B.J. Monteiro started tonight's game, marking the fourth consecutive year a freshman has started the opener (Aaron Jackson in 2005-06, Scott Grote, Robert Mitchell and Stephen Wood in 2006-07 and Bill Clark last year are the others).
• DU is now 78-15 all-time in season-opening games ... the Dukes are 73-4 when opening the year at home.
• All eight of Duquesne's freshmen and six of High Point's nine freshmen saw action.
• Duquesne's largest lead was 39 points (75-36) at the 9:50 mark of the second half.
• The Dukes outscored High Point 20-3 in points off turnovers in the first half.


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