While It Wasn't Pretty, Dukes Get 74-68 win

Duquesne, which got outrebounded by 25 in this game, went scoreless for the final 3:36 of the first half. St. Bonaventure, which scored 12 points during that stretch, hit their own Death Valley with 2:44 left to play, leading 68-66. The Dukes scored the last eight points for their 14th win of the season.

Box Score | Dukes Comeback for 2nd Win over the Bonnies


All things being equal, better option is the opponent going cold at the end of the game. May not always win, but chances for a "W" are a lot better.

Duquesne's defense, which scored 30 points off St. Bonaventure's 31 turnovers, kept the Red and Blue in the game and powered the late charge while the Dukes hit only 35.9 percent overall (23/64), 20% from the beyond the arc (4/14). And DU made just 4-of-8 from the free throw line in the final 62 seconds.

A good deal smaller and lighter than Bonaventure, the Dukes were outrebounded 52-27 but fortunately a third were on the offensive end. The Dukes scored 11 second-chance points, just shy of SBU's 13.

Andrew Nicholson, a 6-foot-9, 220-pound freshman forward, was virtually unstoppable in the first half, scoring 20 of his 29 points. Duquesne used double-teams in the second and gained a little leverage when 6-foot-9, 240-pound Oliver Lewinson, also a frosh, came into the game with just under 12 minutes to go. Coach Everhart noted in the postgame radio interview that Ollie, who played a little over 10 minutes, could be the game MVP, though he didn't score.

The Bonnies scored 42 points in the paint, most coming from Nicholson and 6-foot-5, 225-pound Jonathan Hall.

Duquesne put four players in double figures led by senior Aaron Jackson, still "a little banged up" (Coach Ron Everhart), with 19 points. Sophomore Bill Clark added 17, freshman Eric Evans 14 and sophomore Damian Saunders 11.

Jackson and freshman Melquan Bolding recorded three assists apiece; A.J and Saunders each had five rebounds. Saunders also had three blocks and three steals.

St. Bonaventure, now 11-10, 2-6 in league action, got a pair of double-doubles from Nicholson, 29 points and 12 rebounds, and Hall, 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Chris Matthews hit four three-pointers for 12 points; he also had four assists. Nicholson recorded six blocks.

This was the fourth straight defeat for SBU and their second year coach Mark Schmidt, a former Robert Morris head coach.

Game Play

A sloppy start by St. Bonaventure let Duquesne rush out to a 17-5 lead, 5 1/2 minutes into the game. By 13:58 of the first half, the Bonnies had committed their 10th turnover.

Duquesne extended the advantage to a game-high 13 points, 35-22, on Evans's textbook pass to Clark for a layup, 5:38 to go before the break.

An Evans layup and a Clark jumper accounted for the only Duquesne points after that, with the score 39-28 and 3:15 on the clock. SBU ran off 12 unanswered points and took a 40-39 halftime lead on Chris Matthews's third three-pointer of the game.

Saunders and Clark canned treys to get the hosts ahead, 45-40. Right after that, Saunders came out with four fouls, 16:38 left in the game.

Nicholson's two baskets put SBU ahead, 47-45. Four times, the Bonnies extended the lead to five points but no further as Evans and Jackson, twice each, scored to keep the Dukes close.

Jackson's free throw got the deficit to two and a Jason Duty jump shot just inside the arc tied the score at 66-66.

Nicholson put back his own miss for a 68-66 edge with 2:44 to go. This time it was SBU's turn to go scoreless at the end of a half, while Duquesne scored eight straight.

Evans answered with a drive up the middle and then sliced in from the left wing to give the Dukes a 70-68 edge.

With the shot clock expiring, Evans heaved a long three that missed but was rebounded by Saunders, as important an offensive board as there was in the game.

Saunders was 2-for-4 and Evans, 2-for-2, from the free throw line for the final points.

Duquesne hits the road for one game, a 7:00 p.m. ET matchup at Saint Louis on Wednesday, February 4, 2009, and then returns to Palumbo for another 7:00 p.m. contest with nationally ranked Xavier next Saturday, February 7, 2009.

The SLU game will be televised regionally by CBS College Sports and will air locally on Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh on a tape delay basis that evening at 11:00 p.m.

Notes

  • Duquesne is off to its best overall and best conference start since 1980-81. The `81 NIT Dukes opened 14-6 and 5-2 on the way to a 20-10 record and 10-3 conference finish and tie for the regular season Eastern 8 title.
  • St. Bonaventure committed its 10th turnover after 6:02 had been played. They had 20 at the half and 31 when the buzzer blew the last time.
  • At the other end of the stat spectrum, the Bonnies blocked their 5th of six first half shots, 12:06 into the game. SBU finished the game with 10.
  • Senior Aaron Jackson was named to SI.com's All-Underrated Team in a story published on Friday. article
  • Sophomore Bill Clark picked up his first two fouls in a five-second stretch. Classmate Damian Saunders got his third and fourth in a span of 67 seconds.
  • In the first game with the Bonnies, the Dukes lost the rebounding battle by one, 35-36, while winning, 98-80.
  • Freshman Melquan Bolding scored the Dukes first four points.
  • Freshman Eric Evans scored 6 of the last 8 points.
  • The Dukes had three guards (Jackson, Duty and Evans) and two forwards (Saunders and Clark) on the floor at the end of the game against the taller Bonnies.
  • Clark suffered a slight injury to his back late this week. He missed a practice.
  • Duquesne had a 30-12 advantage in points off turnovers and and made 24 (of 34) free throws to the St. Bonaventure's five (of 10).
  • Two Bonnies fouled out: Malcolm Eleby and Nicholson. Nicholson's fifth was a hard frustration foul on Evans with 27 seconds left. Evans made both from the the line.
  • SBU's Tyler Benson, a Morgantown, W.Va. native with his own cheering section, had a season-best seven rebounds and a career-high three blocks.
  • Coach Ron Everhart in the postgame radio interview said, "I told JS (Jarrett Durham), the only thing we did right tonight was win the game."
  • Duquesne is in sole possession of fourth place in the league standings at 5-2.