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Tarin Smith Leads Dukes to a Win on His Birthday

Tarin Smith Leads Dukes to a Win on His Birthday

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Tarin Smith celebrated his 22nd birthday in style Wednesday night, putting together his best performance in three weeks, to lead Duquesne to its second straight win.

Smith scored a game-high 20 points, including 14 in the second half, and the Dukes stymied Stetson, 73-59, at the AJ Palumbo Center. It was the fewest points Duquesne has surrendered all season, besting its previous mark by two.

The Dukes never trailed and led for nearly 38 minutes. The only tie was with the score knotted at five.

Similar to Monday night against Maryland Eastern Shore, perimeter shots fell for the Dukes against Stetson. They hit 11 threes against the Hatters, giving them 25 in their last two games, three more than they had in their previous three contests.

Smith drained a career-high four threes, including back-to-back triples with Stetson threatening in the second half. Six straight points by the Hatters trimmed the Duquesne lead to nine with 14:02 remaining, but Smith stabilized the Dukes, scoring seven straight points to up the margin to 16.

He finished the night hitting seven of 12 shots and collected three steals. It was the most points the junior guard had scored since dropping a season-high 21 against VMI back on Nov. 14.

Eric Williams Jr. continued his recent trend of impressive play, notching his fourth double-double with 11 points and 16 rebounds. The 16 boards are a Duquesne freshman record and the most since Greg Harrison grabbed 15 in 1983. Through seven games, Williams Jr. is averaging 10.6 rebounds per game, tops in the Atlantic 10 and just a fraction ahead of Dayton’s Josh Cunningham (10.0).

As a team, the Dukes outrebounded the Hatters by two, but netted 19 second-chance points. They forced the visitors into 14 turnovers and scored 21 points off those miscues.

Duquesne closed the first half on a 21-6 run, sparked by three free throws from Mike Lewis II. The Dukes hit four of their final six shots in the frame, turning a four-point advantage into a 15-point halftime cushion. Williams Jr. had a run-out transition dunk, and Smith hit his first two threes to fuel the closing spurt.

Stetson’s Divine Myles was the only Hatter to score in double figures, and no other player had more than seven.

The Hatters entered the night with six wins, including victories over South Alabama and Green Bay, yet continued their trend of alternating wins and losses over their last six games.

The Dukes improve to 4-3 on the season and host Delaware State Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

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