Duquesne men's basketball team puts clamps on Maine
The final seven minutes of Saturday's victory were the “hard-fought” kind Duquesne coach Jim Ferry wants to see more often.
The Dukes' defense allowed just seven points in the final seven minutes of a 87-73 nonconference victory at Palumbo Center, when Maine missed 11 of 13 shots and made two turnovers. The Dukes grabbed a 14-9 rebounding edge during the stretch, which allowed a five-point lead to reach 14.
The first-year coach has stressed defense and rebounding among the building blocks for his program, which Wednesday faces Pitt in the City Game.
“Our guys did a great job playing to our philosophy,” Ferry said. “The guys are starting to buy in and understand.”
Freshman Jeremiah Jones scored a season-high 15 points for the Dukes (4-3), and sophomore Kadeem Pantophlet tied his career best with 14. The pair made 5 of 6 from 3-point range. Sean Johnson and Quevyn Winters added 13 points each,
The Dukes entered averaging 24 3-point shots, which ranked No. 20 nationally. They matched that number Saturday, making 12 of 24 attempts.
“That's not a big philosophy of mine in general,” Ferry said, “but sometimes you have to adapt to who you are as a team.”
Pantophlet scored all 14 of his points in the second half, helping to break a 37-37 halftime tie.
Justin Edwards led Maine (2-5) with 19 points, Xavier Pollard had 17, and Alasdair Fraser added 14. All three fouled out.
“We really guarded as a team today, which we really needed to do,” Ferry said, “because Xavier Pollard and Justin Edwards are just phenomenal guards who can break you down.”
It helped that Maine's top three scorers fouled out, but a number of those fouls were directly related to the Dukes' intensity. With seven minutes left, Duquesne held only a 71-66 lead after a layup by Pollard. But Maine managed just two more field goals: A 3-pointer by Maine's Zarko Valjarevic with 3:09 left and a putback basket by Jon McAllian with 1:01 left.
“We didn't switch anything; we just played to our principles,” Johnson said. “We just turned our intensity up on defense.”
Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.