Notre Dame freshman Dane Goodwin appeared trapped beside the basket after a Duquesne turnover, but managed to turn an edge and put up a circus layup which dropped.
As the shot fell, so did Duquesne guard Tavian Dunn-Martin’s shoulders, perhaps a combination of an offensive dry spell which lasted 6:01 and the feeling of good defense from a turnover being bested.
Duquesne basketball on Pittsburgh Sports Now is sponsored by The Summit Academy: setting young men on the path to a better future.
It was a similar effort to Saturday’s performance in Akron as the Duquesne men’s basketball team battled Notre Dame to the tune of 12 ties and nine lead changes.
The 67-56 setback, which came in the final game of the Gotham Classic, was Duquesne’s first of the season, but it was a hard-fought contest even through the scoring drought.
“We just didn’t make any open looks,” Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot said. “We didn’t do quite enough on the road to win really. We hung in there and showed good toughness, but we didn’t really execute well.”
Dunn-Martin paced Duquesne with a career-high 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field in 22 minutes. Michael Hughes added 10 points before fouling out with 4:25 remaining in the second half.
Hughes had come back into the game with four fouls, 47 seconds prior with Notre Dame up three points and Duquesne needing an edge to get back in the game but instead the forward was out of position and late grabbing the rebound before he fouled John Mooney.
Notre Dame was paced by Mooney’s 16 points and perfect 6-for-6 effort from the free throw line.
Duquesne did not lead at any point in the first half and Dambrot cited a bad shot selection as a reason why, but used its defense to hold Notre Dame scoreless for the final 5:01 and trailed by only six at halftime.
Already this season, Duquesne trailed twice at the half and had won both games and they used a spirited effort to claim their first lead on a Dunn-Martin three-point shot with 10:19 remaining in regulation.
Duquesne led for 5:20 in the second half and survived some shooting woes, foul trouble and a veteran Notre Dame team trying to will its way back into the lead.
Notre Dame remained composed and inserted its starting lineup back onto the court upon Duquesne claiming the lead and a power struggle soon followed.
Duquesne shot 33.3% from the field in the second half, finishing 2-for-8 from the field in the aforementioned scoreless stretch with five of its 16 team turnovers also coming in that stretch. It was during this time when Duquesne tried to speed up its offense but missed shots or had turnovers which proved costly.
“We have a low-mileage team,” said Dambrot. “We have a little bit of a disjointed team right now. You think you know who should play, but you don’t know who should play. If you look at the stats, Lamar Norman was +14, and I think he should have played more, those stats don’t really lie.”
Another key to Notre Dame’s win was its switch in defensive schemes, with its zone.
“I was surprised that it bothered us,” Dambrot said. “We have a pretty good attack and play against it quite a bit,” Dambrot said. “We haven’t had a problem with it in practice. We got the ball around the rim and the sides bothered us a bit and that was part of it, but Mike Hughes got in foul trouble which bothered us a little bit. You have to attack it inside as well and we did a poor job of that.”
Eric Williams Jr who shot 1-for-11 from the field Saturday before rallying late, was held in check going 1-of-11 from the field and grabbed nine rebounds. Sincere Carry was held scoreless and contained to two assists.
Duquesne will return to the Palumbo Center Sunday for a home contest against UMass Lowell which is set to tip off at 1 p.m.