WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Duquesne men’s basketball team hung on to defeat George Washington Wednesday night, 75-73, in the nation’s capitol.
Mike Lewis scored 15 of his game-high 17 points in the first half to lead the Dukes, who snapped their two-game losing skid with the win. The Dukes lost at the buzzer to Rhode Island on Saturday and fell in overtime to Richmond a week ago.
The victory improved Duquesne to 15-6 on the season and 6-4 in the Atlantic 10, just one game out of second place. It’s the first time since the 2010-11 season the Dukes have posted back-to-back wins over the Colonials.
The Duquesne bench accounted for 35 of the team’s 75 points. Tarin Smith poured in 15 points, and Kellon Taylor registered a career-high 11. Marko Krivacevic, who’s been limited to only four games this year because of injury, hit two big second half threes. It was the junior’s first action in two weeks, and he delivered. Both shots came in a 90 second span with the Dukes holding a one-possession lead each time.
“I’m glad we got him in there because he’s been practicing well,” Dambrot said of Krivacevic. “I’ve been wanting to do it for two weeks, because we don’t shoot the ball well at the four spot…it was a gutsy move, but I just felt like it was the right move.”
Krivacevic’s first triple extended Duquesne’s advantage to 58-54 with 8:49 left, and two possessions later he connected again to make it 63-58. Lewis II scored inside moments later to push the Dukes’ cushion to seven.
George Washington battled back in the final minutes, trimming the deficit to three with 3:15 remaining. The teams would then trade baskets, and Eric Williams Jr.’s jumper with 60 seconds left upped the Dukes’ lead to 71-66.
“That’s the one thing about that kid is he’s not scared of the moment,” Dambrot said. “He made a very, very good play and it was a tough shot over someone with contact, and he made it and it was a big play for us.”
Tarin Smith added two free throws to stretch the margin to 73-66, yet the Dukes had to hang on in the closing seconds as they missed three free throws. For the game, Duquesne was 10-19 from the stripe.
Lewis II had the hot hand in the first half, scoring 15 points on 6-8 shooting from the floor. The rest of the Dukes combined to go 8-23, and they trailed 36-33 at the break.
“He carried us in the first half and we rode him like a horse,” Dambrot said of Lewis II. “We kept going back to him and back to him and back to him.”
A George Washington triple two minutes into the second half pushed its lead to six, but Duquesne ripped off seven straight points—capped by a Taylor dunk—to regain the lead, 43-42.
The lead exchanged hands several times over the next few minutes before Tarin Smith’s trey broke a 49-all tie. The Dukes would never trail again.
Duquesne shot 50 percent from the field, drilled nine threes, and scored 18 second-chance points. The Dukes won despite allowing the Colonials to hit 51 percent of their shots.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Dambrot said. “Our guys have showed unbelievable resiliency. I don’t know how many close games you can play in one year? I’ve never seen so many in my life, but I knew it was going to happen.”