PITTSBURGH — The Duquesne men’s basketball team was seeking to earn its 20th win of the season, but instead fell 85-75 on the road to Saint Louis Wednesday night.
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Duquesne sophomore guard Eric Williams Jr set a career-high with 40 points shooting 15-for-20 from the field while his seven made three-point shots were the second most in his Dukes career.
Williams’s 40 points were a single-game high at Chaifetz Arena.
Those 40 points, were the most in a single game Aaron Jackson had 46 in a double-overtime NIT loss on Mar. 18, 2009 to Virginia Tech.
Saint Louis senior guard Tramaine Isabel Jr nearly matched Williams’s output with 39 points of his own.
Duquesne opened the game scoring the first seven points and taking a 12-3 advantage but the game took its first turn when freshman forward Amari Kelly went down with a serious knee injury.
Kelly did not return to the game.
The stoppage did two things. For Duquesne, it halted the team’s momentum and they also had to regroup with their teammate and first post option on the bench, now out of the game.
Saint Louis used the stoppage to change its defense from a man-to-man to more of a zone look and that initally worked as a 10-0 run allowed the Billikens to take the lead.
Freshman guard Lamar Norman Jr was able to bury a jumper which gave Duquesne the lead once again.
Duquesne led by as many as nine points after that basket, but after Isabel buried a three-point shot to beat the halftime buzzer, the Dukes advantage was cut to three points.
Though Duquesne held a slim one-point advantage after a 30-second timeout, Isabel drilled a three-point shot which allowed Saint Louis to reclaim the lead. During this stretch, an 11-0 Billikens run, Duquesne was held off the scoreboard for 4:27.
When these two teams met earlier in the season, Duquesne was outrebounded by 23 and despite Kelly’s injury, the team was an improved -12 on the boards. With Saint Louis making its second half run, Duquesne was outrebounded 36-16 in the second half.
Duquesne did shoot 45.2% from the field, but conceded 42 points in the paint, while its bench scored eight points.
Free throws did make a difference in this game as Saint Louis took 39 free throws and Duquesne took 15.
Prior to the game, PSN’s Mike Vukovcan reported that it was likely Sincere Carry would start tonight provided he felt good after pregame warmups and the freshman did give it a go Wednesday night. Carry scored 13 points on 4-of-11 shooting from the field in 34 minutes.
Duquesne will play its final home game Saturday at 7 p.m. against Dayton. Duquesne senior forward Zach Snyder will be honored prior to the game.