Duquesne hands Charlotte rare home loss
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After a 1-5 start in the Atlantic 10 Conference, some may have dismissed Duquesne as a legitimate contender.
The Dukes don't appear to be done just yet.
B.J. Monteiro scored 19 points, Bill Clark added 18, Damian Saunders had 11 points and six blocks, and the Dukes went into hostile Halton Arena and upset Charlotte, 83-77, on Wednesday night, holding off a furious 49ers rush in the closing minutes to win their second game in a row and third in the past four.
"It's certainly no embarrassment to lose to Duquesne," Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz said. "They're well-coached. They've got good players. They did what they needed to do tonight to win the game. We didn't."
A 16-1 run early in the second half propelled Duquesne (14-12, 5-7), which registered eight steals and seven blocks, shot 48.4 percent (30 for 62) and alerted the rest of the A-10 to beware.
"We executed very well down the stretch," Duquesne coach Ron Everhart said. "It was a dogfight, but we made our free throws at the end."
Finally. Duquesne, among the worst free-throw shooters in the nation, hit 15 of 23, including 13 of 18 in the second half.
Senior Jason Duty and freshman Sean Johnson both connected on two free throws in the final minute to help seal the outcome for the Dukes, who play host to A-10 preseason favorite Dayton on Sunday in a rematch of their 78-72 overtime road loss to the Flyers in January.
Shamari Spears led Charlotte (18-7, 8-3) with 20 points and 12 rebounds. It was just the second home loss in 11 games at Halton Arena for the 49ers, who shot just 32.8 percent and committed 10 of its 15 turnovers in the second half.
Freshman Chris Braswell added 10 points and 15 rebounds for Charlotte, which was coming off a 28-point loss at Dayton.
Saunders' errant pass on an inbounds play, after the Dukes initially were unable to get the ball inbounds and were forced to call a timeout, resulted in Ian Anderson's 3-point shot that pulled Charlotte within 79-77.
Charlotte's Dijuan Harris and Braswell forced the turnover with 28 seconds remaining.
But Duquesne got the ball inbounds again to Saunders, who fed Duty as he was sprinting downcourt before being fouled. Duty, a 70-percent shooter from the line who missed 2 of 3 attempts in a similar situation in an overtime loss at Dayton on Jan. 9, converted both attempts.
Charlotte missed a flurry of shots on its end and Duquesne came away with the rebound, setting up Johnson's two free throws with 6.9 seconds remaining after Duquesne clung to a four-point lead.
Morakinyo "Mike" Williams enjoyed his best outing as a college player, getting eight points and nine rebounds in 22 minutes in a reserve role. Williams, the 7-foot transfer from Kentucky, complemented Saunders nicely on the block, adding one steal, an assist and blocked shot each and shooting 4 for 5.
"I've had confidence in Mike all year," Everhart said.
"It's a good feeling to see guys come in off the bench and step up right from the get-go," said Clark, who shot 7 for 12, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range and was coming off a career-high 34 points in a 103-82 victory over La Salle on Sunday. "Once you get that chance, you want to take control. Obviously, he did that."
Duty's 3-point shot put Duquesne ahead, 67-58, before Anderson scored five consecutive points on a 3-pointer and two free throws to pull Charlotte within 67-63.
But Saunders' nifty pass inside to Monteiro, resulting in a reverse layup and foul, made it 70-63 in favor of the Dukes after Monteiro converted the three-point play with 6 minutes remaining.
Harris converted a pair of free throws at the other end for Charlotte, which closed within 70-67 on two more free throws by Braswell inside the 5-minute mark.
Monteiro made 1 of 2 free throws and gave Duquesne a 71-67 advantage.
Spears converted two free throws for Charlotte before Monteiro hit another reverse layup on another feed from Saunders, who then hit two free throws for a 76-69 Duquesne lead after Spears' off-balance 3-pointer was off the mark.
Harris' three-point play on a layup and free throw pulled the 49ers within 79-74 with 32.8 seconds remaining, but they were never able to catch Duquesne once the Dukes seized the lead, holding Charlotte to just one point for more than a 5-minute stretch in the second half.
Charlotte opened up a 46-37 lead with less than 2 minutes elapsed in the second half on Derrio Green's 3-point shot.
Harris' floater in the lane put the 49ers up, 50-40, but Duquesne converted a pair of steals by Saunders into baskets, and Clark hit his second consecutive 3-point shot to pull the Dukes within 50-47 with 15:40 to go.
A pair of baskets inside by Williams tied the score at 51-51.
Monteiro's driving layup gave Duquesne the lead for good, 53-51, with 13:40 to go, and he followed moments later with two free throws for a 55-51 advantage.
Charlotte led at halftime, 39-35.