PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Playing for the first time in seven days, the Duquesne basketball team hoped the extended break would afford them a chance to reset entering the final five-game stretch of the season.
Instead, its late season slide continued.
Shavar Newkirk poured in a game-high 26 points and St. Joseph’s handed the Dukes their fourth straight loss Saturday, 82-75.
Duquesne drops to 15-12 on the season and 6-8 in the Atlantic 10. The Dukes have lost six of seven overall and are now 2-5 on the road this season.
Their struggles on the defensive end persisted, as they allowed 80 or more points for the fourth straight game. St. Joe’s scored 46 points after the break and led by as much as 15.
Duquesne’s only lead of the game came at 5-3. St. Joe’s used a 14-3 run early in the first half to surge ahead by double-digits. The Dukes clawed back behind Tarin Smith, who scored seven points in the final 5:28 of the first half, to pull within 36-31 at the break.
Duquesne remained close in the second half and even cut the deficit to one at 51-50 midway through the frame on Rene Castro-Caneddy’s triple. The Hawks answered on the other end and scored 13 of the game’s next 16 points to pull away for good.
The Hawks shot 44 percent from the field and hit nine three-pointers, continuing the recent trend of teams finding success against the Dukes’ once stingy perimeter defense. Duquesne opponents have connected for eight or more threes in four straight contests. Prior to that four-game stretch, the Dukes ranked in the top five nationally in three-point field goal defense.
St. Joe’s went 21-29 from the free throw line, led by Newkirk, who hit 10 of 11. In comparison, Duquesne attempted just 17 freebies. The Hawks scored 22 points off 14 Duquesne turnovers.
Castro-Caneddy led the Dukes with 21 points on 8-12 shooting, and Smith finished with 19 points. Eric Williams Jr. chipped in with 18 points but needed 21 shots to get there. He also pulled down 12 rebounds to record his team-leading tenth double-double of the season.
Mike Lewis was held without a point for the third time this season. He missed all 11 of his field goals attempts, including going 0-9 from behind the arc. The St. Louis native entered the contest averaging more than 14 points per game.
Duquesne travels to St. Bonaventure Wednesday to face the hottest team in the A-10. The Bonnies have won eight straight overall and knocked off No. 14 Rhode Island Friday night, handing the Rams their first conference loss in 17 games.
St. Bonaventure won the first matchup against Duquesne, 84-81, on Jaylen Adam’s last-second three.