Duquesne hands St. Bonaventure first A-10 loss
Down four points and suddenly sluggish on the glass, Duquesne took 30 seconds to rebound.
The Dukes paused briefly, regrouped and emerged from a timeout with a late second-half run to pull away from Atlantic 10 visitor St. Bonaventure in a 95-88 victory Saturday at Palumbo Center.
“Our main goal for this game was for all of us to keep rebounding,” junior L.G. Gill said. “We kept telling each other during the game, keep them off the glass.”
Duquesne was down 61-57 with 10:20 left and had just seen St. Bonaventure grab four offensive boards. But after a timeout, the Dukes grabbed seven of the next nine boards, with three by Gill and two by Derrick Colter. With the second-chance points eliminated, the Bonnies were held to one basket in a six-minute span.
Helped by a career-high 12 boards from Gill, the Dukes outrebounded the Bonnies, 49-34.
“They were getting their offensive rebounds back, and they were getting 50-50 balls,” senior Micah Mason, who scored 27 points, said. “That was the main key. After that timeout, we started guarding, we started rebounding again and just beating them to 50-50 balls.”
A 3-pointer by Colter and two baskets by Mason sparked a 13-2 run that swelled to 20-5.
The long run broke open what had been a back-and-forth battle. There were eight ties and 12 lead changes until a go-ahead layup by Mason with 9:39 left was the last.
“I didn't like our body language,” Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said. “I thought we looked like we were playing slow defensively, and we weren't the whole game. I wanted to bring them in and regroup.”
With four minutes left, the Dukes' lead reached 77-66 when Colter hit another 3.
With a few late 3s, the Bonnies cut the lead to five with 20 seconds left, but Duquesne (12-6, 2-3) held on. The A-10 victory was the second in a row for Duquesne, which started conference play with three losses.
“It's huge for us,” said Mason, whose Dukes visit VCU on Wednesday. “We lost three in a row ... but that did not define us. We came back, and we got better. I think we proved that tonight.”
Colter had 23 as five Dukes scored in double figures. Eric James had 16 points, Gill had 12 and TySean Powell added 10.
The offensive woes from earlier this month weren't an issue.
With its transition game drawing a few court-length passes, Duquesne shot 52 percent from the floor. Mason was 4 for 9 from 3-point range, but the Dukes didn't rely solely on the arc.
They had a 24-17 lead in fast-break points and a 46-36 edge for points in the paint. They also had 23 assists on 32 baskets, including a long first-half pass from Mason that let Powell rattle the rim with a breakaway dunk. The Dukes also made 24 of 31 free throws.
The conference loss was the first for St. Bonaventure (12-4, 4-1). Jaylen Adams led the Bonnies with 22 points, and three teammates reached double figures. Denzel Gregg scored 19 points, Dion Wright had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Marcus Posley added 15.
Wright (16.1 ppg), Posley (17.9) and Adams (17.3) entered as the second-highest scoring trio on any Division I team.
“Like us, they're a very difficult team to guard,” Ferry said. “They have weapons that spread you out. I thought we locked in and really focused.”
The first half included nine lead changes and five ties. A last-second 3 by Nelson Kaputo gave St. Bonaventure a 37-36 halftime lead.
“It really came down to the rebounding at the end,” Ferry said. “We really locked in on defensive rebounds and pulled away.”