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Duquesne Basketball

Kellen Grady, Davidson Knock Off Duquesne in A-10 Opener

Duquesne guard Sincere Carry defends Davidson guard Jon Axel Gudmundsson on Jan. 5, 2019 at John M. Belk Arena. (Mitchell Northam / Pittsburgh Sports Now)

Kellen Grady, Davidson Knock Off Duquesne in A-10 Opener

DAVIDSON, N.C. — Had Atlantic 10 conference play started a week ago, Duquesne may have beaten Davidson for the first time ever.

The Dukes were 0-6 all-time against the Wildcats entering Saturday’s game, the first A-10 contest of the season for both squads. But a week ago, Kellan Grady was still out for Davidson, nursing an injury.

Grady — the 6-foot-5 sophomore guard from Boston, named to preseason watch-lists for the Wooden and Naismith awards — returned to the hardwood Saturday and tallied 17 points, three rebounds and two assists as his Wildcats prevailed over the Dukes, 65-61 at John M. Belk Arena.

While Grady wasn’t perfect in his first game back in just over a month — shooting just five-of-15 from the floor — he made big plays when they counted. At the end of the first half, he nailed a three-pointer to give the Wildcats (10-4; 1-0 A-10) a two-point lead. In the second half, he swiped a ball from Dukes’ freshman Sincere Carry that led to a connection from behind the arc for Davidson’s Luke Frampton.

Grady’s biggest shot came at the 3:03 mark in the second half. The Dukes (9-5; 0-1 A-10) had a one-point lead, but after getting a feed from KiShawn Pritchett, Grady sank a three-point shot to grab the lead back for the Wildcats. Duquesne would tie the game again, but could never re-capture the edge over Davidson. Grady also swished a pair of free throws with 21.9 seconds to play, putting the game on ice by giving the Wildcats a two-possession edge.

Carry tallied 17 points, five assists and four rebounds for the Dukes while Frankie Hughes added 15 points, three rebounds and two blocks.

While Grady missed his fair share of shots, but one Wildcat who seemed to make everything was Luka Brajkovic, a 6-foot-9 freshman from Austria. He ended the game with 15 points and five rebounds, and seemed to score each time he got the ball in the post, causing a bevy of headaches for the Dukes in the paint.

Another problem for Keith Dambrot’s side was that they failed to draw fouls and in turn, didn’t get many opportunities to grab easy points from the charity stripe. The Dukes made just six trips to the free throw line, making only four shots from there.

Duquesne also shot 23.8 percent from three-point land and turned the ball over 13 times. Sharing the ball was down too, as the Dukes tallied only eight assists.

The Dukes are now 14 games into their season, Dambrot’s second at the helm, but this was just the second true road game they had played. The first was a Nov. 20 loss at Notre Dame. That was the last time the Dukes left their comfy confines in Pittsburgh.

They’ll return to the A.J. Palumbo Center on Wednesday to face Fordham, their second clash of the 2019 A-10 slate.

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