PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — In last night’s A-10 matchup, Duquesne (10-6, 1-1) made sure it wasn’t another down to the wire game as they defeated St. Bonaventure (8-6, 1-1), 66-52, after a scrappy, low-scoring first half.
“We were disappointed in our last outing and the way we finished it, and I thought today we responded with an effort that matched with the type of intensity that we probably should have had the last four minutes of the last game,” said Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart.
In a low scoring half that one might expect when both teams’ leading scorers combined for a total of two points and 14 minutes, there were only two 3-pointers and the average field goal percentage of the two teams totaled just 37.1 percent, the Dukes went into the locker room with a 29-23 lead.
Preseason Wooden Award Nominee and Preseason All-Conference selection, SBU senior forward Andrew Nicholson did not score a point until 30 seconds into the second half, watching his team from the bench the majority of the first with two fouls, while Duquesne’s leading scorer Sean Johnson played just eight minutes and scored two points in the first twenty minutes of the game.
Both of those things changed in the second half however, but it was the Dukes’ leading scorer, Johnson who got his minutes worth, finishing with a game-high 17 points. After freshman forward Kadeem Pantophlet knocked down a three to put the Dukes up 42-37, Dukes’ center Andre Marhold swatted Nicholson’s layup and they never looked back. Johnson accounted for eight points on the team’s 13-0 run, including two ‘and 1’s’ off of pretty passes from Mike Talley and T.J. McConnell.
McConnell, who ranks third in the country in steals per game finished with four steals tonight along with 13 points and eight of the Duke’s unusually low 12 assists.
Pantophlet played for 33 minutes, the only player on the court for the Dukes for that amount of time, other than their point guard McConnell.
“He’s verstatile…he can defend one through four, sometimes five and offensively he hasn’t really tried to put it on the floor and become much of a playmaker yet. I think eventually he will, but right now we just need him to run the floor hard like he’s been doing, rebounding, making open shots, because Eric (Evans), T.J. and Mike will find him when he’s open,” Coach Everhart said of Pantophlet.
Despite not putting up monster numbers, with five points and four boards, Pantophlet had a solid game for the Dukes, playing within himself, giving them good minutes and staying out of foul trouble.
Marhold also stepped up while the Duke’s second leading scorer and leading rebounder, B.J. Monteiro is still out with a hand injury. Not only was he key in stopping Nicholson, but his offensive awareness and ability to finish around the hoop was also a major factor in the win.
“The past couple of games we had a lot of breakdowns, people getting late to the help. We couldn’t have one person break down, because then it hurts our team. Everyone was basically just focused on defense and trying to help each other as much as they could,” said Marhold, who finished with nine points, six boards and three blocks.
The Bonnies shot just 33.3 percent from the field, 20 percent from beyond the arc and turned the ball over 18 times. Nicholson, who finished the game with 11 points and six rebounds, came out hot in the second half but wasn’t ever able to find his rhythm, and the Dukes quickly adjusted to their baseline offense.
“I thought from a defensive standpoint, especially in the first half, our defense kept us in the game, but the second half our offense wasn’t very good and our defense broke down,” St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt said.
Junior forward, Demitrius Conger had a game-high nine rebounds, while Matthew Wright added nine points and four assists for the Bonnies.
After shooting just 33.3 percent from the field in the first half the Dukes shot 51.9 percent in the second. Fortunately the game did not go down to the wire, as Duquesne was just 20-of-31 from the stripe for the night. They also had 15 turnovers.
The Dukes are 7-41 when scoring less than 70 points under Coach Everhart, but when you hold your opponent to just 52 points, there’s definitely a little bit more wiggle room.
In case you wanted to know…
- Duquesne’s next game is set for 7PM on Wednesday, January 11th at Xavier (10-5,1-1). It will air on CBS Sports Network.
- Andre Marhold has a total of 9 blocked shots in the past 3 games.
- Dukes held SBU to a season low 52 points.
The Aly Way