Duquesne on target in win
Usually cold-shooting Duquesne shook off a 36-point loss at Xavier three days earlier to enjoy its best shooting performance in more than a month and beat Saint Joseph's, 74-71, on Sunday at Palumbo Center.
The Dukes shot 52.8 percent, their best showing since a season-high 57.4 against St. Francis (Pa.) on Dec. 22, and limited Saint Joseph's to 37.9.
For Duquesne (11-10, 2-5 Atlantic 10), it turned into a more difficult challenge than needed. While the Dukes found their range from the field, their free-throw shooting woes continued.
They wound up 14 for 25 from the line after failing to convert 10 of 21 attempts in the second half, including several critical misses late in the game, prompting coach Ron Everhart to joke about his playing days at Virginia Tech.
"I don't think I missed 10 free throws in my career," he said with a groan. "I've gone from watching us miss free throws to not watching. We missed free throws down the stretch and made it tough, but we won the game, and our kids got some confidence."
Duquesne came in ranked last in the A-10 in free-throw shooting (60.3 percent) and 3-point shooting (24.8), where they also continued to struggle, making just 4 of 19.
But sophomore guard Melquan Bolding, rapidly regaining his form after sitting out 13 games following wrist surgery in November, scored 24 points to lead the Dukes. He hit 3 of 6 from 3-point range.
"He made three 3s, and they're not a good 3-point shooting team," Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said.
Bolding shot 9 for 13 overall and scored 17 first-half points to power Duquesne to a 39-31 halftime advantage.
"I'm feeling pretty good," Bolding said. "I think I'm pretty close (to 100 percent). I shot pretty well today."
Bolding scored 25 points in Duquesne's opener Nov. 13 but was sidelined the following day after a fractured bone showed up during X-rays. He returned to the team this month and has shown steady progress.
Damian Saunders registered his 16th double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds to go with seven blocks and three assists. Eric Evans scored 12 points, all in the second half, for Duquesne, which visits No. 15 Temple on Wednesday.
"Damian and Mel both gave us great efforts," Everhart said. "Mel was efficient. He was great from the 3-point line and good from the 2 against a good defender like (Saint Joseph's Garrett) Williamson."
Duquesne entered the day 12th among 14 A-10 teams in field-goal percentage (40.9).
It was another close outcome for Duquesne, whose previous A-10 games have included a one-point victory over St. Bonaventure, a four-point double-overtime loss to Saint Louis, a six-point overtime loss at Dayton and an eight-point loss at Rhode Island.
"I've never played in this many close games -- ever," Bolding said.
Saint Joseph's (8-13, 2-5), playing its fourth game in eight days, was led by Darrin Govens and Justin Crosgile with 17 points apiece.
The Hawks, who fell to 1-8 in road games, had a chance to take the lead with 7.6 seconds remaining. But Bryant Irwin was called for a travel, and Duquesne regained possession.
Evans hit 1 of 2 free throws, giving Duquesne a three-point cushion that stood when Saint Joseph's Carl Jones shot an airball as time expired.