Duquesne starting point guard Tavian Dunn-Martin played big Saturday.
Generously listed as 5-foot-8, Dunn-Martin had career highs with 30 points and six assists during the Dukes’ 80-73 win against Massachusetts at Palumbo Center.
At one point while igniting the Dukes’ 10th second-half rally this season, Dunn-Martin made a pull-up jump shot over 6-11 UMass center Rashaan Holloway.
“I shot it and arced it a little high,” Dunn-Martin said matter-of-factly, “and got it in.”
For Dunn-Martin, a sophomore transfer from Akron, his first career 30-point game was the latest instance of him proving people wrong.
“I think all little people like us have insecurities, right?” Dambrot said. “We all do. I mean, his whole life he’s been trying to battle for respect: ‘I’m a good player, I can play.’ He made some unbelievable plays tonight. …
“We ran about 100 plays in a row for him, and he made some bombs. They were tough shots. And I give him credit. I like him. He’s a nice kid.”
Dunn-Martin was lightly recruited for obvious reasons, but Dambrot coveted him when he was the coach at Akron in 2016. Dambrot noted Dunn-Martin became the career scoring leader at Huntington (W.Va.) High School, surpassing NBA player Patrick Patterson while playing in three state championship games (winning two).
“If you can play like that at that size, you’re special,” said Dambrot, who brought Dunn-Martin with him to Duquesne two years ago. “I have said that many, many times.”
Dunn-Martin made three 3-pointers in less than two minutes late in second half of Saturday’s win, a stretch that capped the Dukes’ comeback from an 11-point deficit.
He also had a pair of three-point possessions late in the first half when Duquesne was rallying. Dunn-Martin went 9 for 12 from the field, 7 for 9 on 3-pointers and 5 for 5 at the free-throw line.
“Little guy was like playing in high school again,” Dambrot said. “That’s how he played in high school. He just flung them up there, flinging and stinging them. We don’t win without him.”