Monteiro, Johnson pace Dukes in home victory over Massachusetts
B.J. Monteiro's night was big in a couple ways.
Making his first start in three weeks, Monteiro scored 23 points, and teammate Sean Johnson added 20 points and 10 rebounds, to lead Duquesne to an 80-69 victory Wednesday night over Massachusetts at Palumbo Center.
The pair combined for eight straight second-half points in the Atlantic 10 victory, turning a tied game into a 56-48 lead that the Dukes (12-7, 3-2) never relinquished.
Monteiro also held his own defensively against much taller forwards.
Duquesne started and used often a lineup with no one taller than Monteiro and teammate Jerry Jones — both of whom are 6-foot-5 — giving the Dukes better ball-handling and a smaller, quicker defense that forced 29 turnovers.
Dukes coach Ron Everhart called it "small-ball."
"Sometimes when you roll the dice, you come out on top," he said.
It showed against Massachusetts point guard Chaz Williams, who scored just eight points, made seven turnovers and fouled out. The sophomore had averaged a team-best 16.2 points.
"We just did as good a job as anybody has done on him all year long," Everhart said. "I thought our guards were just tremendous in that respect."
But that meant Monteiro and Jones were, at times, defending Massachusetts forwards who were 3 or 4 inches taller, including 6-9 sophomore Raphiael Putney.
"That's just part of being on this team," Monteiro said. "We play fast, so one night Sean (Johnson) might be the center."
It was the Dukes' fourth win in five games against Massachusetts (14-5, 3-2).
This was Monteiro's second game back and first start since needing stitches in his left hand and chin to mend off-court injuries sustained New Year's Eve. Monteiro scored 16 in the second half but finished just 9 of 22 shooting.
"When I was out, it kind of hit me that this is my last go-round," Monteiro said. "From here on out, I've just got to go pedal-to-the-medal."
T.J. McConnell had 15 points for Duquesne. The Dukes were playing without 6-7 junior forward Andre Marhold, who's out with a concussion.
A 3-pointer by Jones with 5:15 remaining gave Duquesne a 71-61 lead, and a jumper nine seconds later by McConnell stretched the gap to 12, the largest lead by either team. Massachusetts never had more than a 3-point lead, with that coming in the first half.
Fouls became an issue for Massachusetts when Chaz Williams, Terrell Vinson and Maxie Esho each were called for a fourth foul in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Jesse Morgan and Putney also had four fouls before the six-minute mark.
The lead changed 13 times in the first half, the last coming with 50 seconds left when Mike Talley's 3-pointer gave the Dukes a 41-38 lead at halftime. There were seven ties, and neither team led by more than four points in an evenly matched first half.
Duquesne twice briefly held a four-point lead in the first half (10-6 and 22-18), the only times either team built more than a one-possession lead.
Duquesne women fall to Temple
In Philadelphia, the Dukes led by as many as seven points in the first half before the Owls surged to the win. Jocelyn Floyd had 18 points to pace Duquesne (13-5, 1-2 Atlantic 10); Wumi Agunbiade added 15, and Orsi Szecsi had 10. Shey Peddy led Temple (9-8, 3-1) with 22.