The Duquesne Dukes Men’s basketball team got an extended Christmas break, getting time off from December 22-31 before returning to the court to take on NJIT at the Palumbo Center on Monday to close out 2018.
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Unfortunately, they looked like a team who took some time off. While they slowly got back into the swing of things by the middle of the game, their effort was not enough, as the Dukes lost, 78-67.
Duquesne got off to a sluggish start, trailing 5-0 and failing to score in the first five minutes. It was clear they were not on their best game from there. NJIT came out with a mentality to push tempo and get to the basket. It had worked and with the lackadaisical offense on the other side, a deficit grew for Duquesne.
The Dukes had a tough time slowing down the Highlanders, whether it be off of a rebound or an inbound pass. NJIT led in fastbreak points, 16-5 and points in the paint 20-8 at the half. NJIT was able to control tempo and that led them to controlling the lead at the half, 39-31.
However, Duquesne started to find an answer in the second half. The team turned to Tavian Dunn-Martin in a bigger role and he made his presence known on the defensive side of the ball, pressing full court and helping slow down the break and transition.
The press worked and turned into Sincere Carry turning up the intensity on offense. With a five assists in the early portions of the second half the Dukes cut the lead all the way down to three points at 57-54.
The Dukes slowed down momentum, but NJIT countered by knocking down five shots from behind the arc in the second half. The Dukes had momentum but two straight 3-pointers with just under six minutes to go in the game took that away, and gave NJIT a 63-54 lead.
Duquesne was pressing from there and saw two missed free throws from Frankie Hughes and a missed three point attempt from Sincere Carry. NJIT rebounded and hit one more three, to extend the lead to over ten points.
Duquesne will get a smaller break, but another break nonetheless as they don’t take the court again until Saturday, when they head to 9-4 Davidson.