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Duquesne

Hours away from another punking? Duquesne hopes not

Jerry DiPaola
| Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, 2:36 p.m.
Duquesne's Mike Lewis II leads the team with 16.2 points per game.
Dave DeNoma | Duquesne athletics
Duquesne's Mike Lewis II leads the team with 16.2 points per game.

No one on the Duquesne men's basketball team speaks the truth better than sophomore guard Mike Lewis.

So when he explained what happened in the Dukes' first game against Saint Louis — a 76-63 loss on the road Jan. 17 — he probably was accurate.

“To be honest, they punked us in Saint Louis,” he said.

Lewis' use of the word punked is interesting. His explanation of its meaning slightly deviates from urbandictionary.com.

The website characterizes punked as “a way to describe someone ripping you off, tricking you, teasing you.”

It's possible Duquesne (15-14, 6-10) was tricked and teased by Saint Louis (16-13,9-7), which performed above its shooting ability, scoring its most points (76) in an Atlantic 10 victory this season.

But Lewis said the loss went beyond basketball.

“Like you're not there,” he said, defining the word for a reporter not up on urban slang. “A couple of guys were in the paint, and (the Billikens) just ran right through us.

“Punking is ‘Excuse me, young guy, get out of the way' ”

That's something the Dukes are seeking to avoid as they prepare for their rematch with Saint Louis on Wednesday night at Palumbo Center.

Duquesne can climb higher in the A-10 standings and earn a first-round bye in the conference tournament by winning its last two regular-season games. The Dukes visit Massachusetts on Saturday.

But it won't be easy.

Coach Keith Dambrot said the loss to Saint Louis was the only game this season the Dukes weren't in contention to win after halftime.

“They're big and strong and physical, and they just punked us in all aspects. As simple as that. P-U-N-K-E-D,” the 59-year-old Dambrot said.

How can Duquesne avoid another punking? Lewis may have a solution.

“They're going to come in here with the same mindset,” he said. “Try to get us on the boards, bust us up a lot, just play physical and play a fast-paced game.”

Saint Louis, which is 7-3 since beating Duquesne, is the A-10's top rebounding team (37.5 per game), but it's 11th in shooting percentage (42.1).

“We know they're not the greatest shooting team,” Lewis said, “so we're going to try pack it in (under the basket) and get ready for those guys.”

Lewis didn't mean any disrespect of a team that already beat him by 13 points.

But did he just punk Saint Louis?

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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