PITTSBURGH — Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot said that Wednesday’s game against Saint Louis marked the beginning of a four-game measuring stick for where his team stood in the Atlantic-10 Conference.
The Dukes passed the first test, winning 77-73 at A.J. Palumbo Center on Wednesday night. Duquesne is now 14-5 and 5-1 A-10, in a three-way tie with Saint Louis and Davidson, one-half game behind conference-leading George Mason at 6-1.
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PALUMBO WAS ROCKING TONIGHT. 🔊💥
— Duquesne Basketball (@DuqMBB) January 24, 2019
Marcus Weathers led Duquesne with 19 points and the 54.7-percent free throw shooter was 11 for 13 from the line. Sophomore guard Eric Williams, Jr. recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Senior guard Javon Bess led Saint Louis with 24 points.
It was a lengthy first half which featured almost everything, with the exception of any lead changes as Saint Louis held the advantage for 18:52 of the opening 20 minutes.
Michael Hughes was a difference maker in the first half, as he was able to convert two and-one plays, had a huge block and also drew a charging foul.
Hughes also made a difference when he was not on the floor as Saint Louis was able to extend its offensive rebounding advantage, which was 23-13 at half’s end.
Duquesne also received a boost from freshman forward Gavin Bizeau, whose confidence carried over from the team’s last game at George Washington and buried a three-point basket to cut the Saint Louis advantage to 36-35 at halftime.
Though Saint Louis led by as many as eight points in that first half and were the more physical team, the Billikens allowed Duquesne to stay in the game with an 0-for-8 mark on its 3-point shots and had five assists on 16 made baskets in addition to nine turnovers.
Duquesne made a basket 17 seconds into the second half and led the rest of the way. Though the Dukes lost the rebounding battle, 53-30, their defense held Saint Louis to 38.8 shooting percentage from the field.
Saint Louis also contributed to Duquesne’s cause with 23 total turnovers compared to 10 assists on the night. The Billikens also ended up 2 for 20 from 3-point rainge.
Duquesne will continue its three-game homestand with a contest against VCU on Saturday that will tip off at 2 p.m.