From the minute he became Duquesne’s men’s basketball coach, Keith Dambrot has repeatedly stated that he intends to change the culture of Duquesne basketball.
Today at the Palumbo Center, Dambrot’s team beat perennial Atlantic-10 power Dayton, 70-62. The win was #10 for the Dukes—matching their win total from last year.
The win ended Dayton’s four-game win streak over Duquesne and gave Dambrot his first win over Dayton. He hasn’t been 0-4 vs. Dayton while at Akron.
“That’s a good win for us. We kind of did it the ugly way but that’s the way we’re going to have to play. I’m proud of our guys,” Dambrot said after the game.
“I think they’ve proved to themselves that they now believe in themselves and have enough togetherness to win close games. We’re going to be in 10-12 more of those type of games. We just got to keep grinding them out and find ways to win.”
This game definitely was a grind with Duquesne leading for 20:30 while Dayton was ahead for 16:31. There were eight ties and seven lead changes before Duquesne took the lead for good on a Chas Brown dunk with 4:35 left in the game.
The turning point might have came late in the first half with Dayton holding a 34-33 lead.
Following a dunk by Dayton’s Kostas Antetokounmpo over Brown, Antetokounmpo was asssed a technical foul for taunting and the refs issued one to Brown for physical play after being taunted.
That scenario might seem minor to some but not to Dambrot as he believes it’s a sign of the new culture of Duquesne basketball.
“I think the one thing it showed is that Duquesne isn’t going to get punked anymore. I didn’t particularly care for the play but at least he showed we’re not going to take that anymore, we’re not going to be the step-children of the league,” said Dambrot.
”I wasn’t mad at him for making the dunk. The point that it started to get rough was after he dunked he was talking the whole time till he got to half-court. Then he hit me, nodded and head-butted me in the face. That’s when it was just too much. I’m physical but I’ll keep it within the means of the game. He just took it abit too far,” said Brown.
Brown played his best game of the season scoring eight points and collecting seven rebounds.
Following Brown’s dunk with 4:35 left, the Dukes led 62-61 and never trailed again. From that point on, the Dukes finished the game on a 8-1 run. Dayton went the remaining 5:33 of the game without scoring a field goal.
The Dukes defense held Dayton to a season low 28 second half points.
— Duquesne Basketball (@DuqMBB) December 31, 2017
Rene Castro-Caneddy was the best player on the court today and was the game’s high scorer with 21 points. Freshman Eric Williams had an efficient night with 15 points and 7 rebounds, while Mike Lewis scored 12 points and only recorded two field goals. It shows the depth of this team to beat a team like Dayton with Lewis having an off night shooting.
With today’s win, Duquesne has tied the school record for pre-New Year’s wins set in 1953-54 (10-0) and tied in 2015-16 (10-3).
“We can win every game but we can also lose every game. That’s about how fine if a line it is for us. That’s the truth, said Dambrot.
”You’ve got to believe that you can win those type of games at home or you shouldn’t be in the league.”
Duquesne was able to do that today and showed that they’re not the basketball team that most people remember. Day-by-day, Dambrot is fielding what he hopes one day is an NCAA team.
”There’s a lot of die-heart Duquesne fans that are skeptics. … We’ve now been given what we need to win and now it’s up to us to see that the old Duquesne fans get to go to an NCAA tournament game. That’s my whole goal in this whole thing, before I retire, I want the Duquesne fans to get what they deserve.”
Keith Dambrot postgame presser:
Dukes players postgame: