PITTSBURGH — The Duquesne men’s basketball team again attempted to comeback from a double-digit deficit, but Saturday night it did not have a ninth such comeback in the cards falling 78-67 to Dayton at the Palumbo Center.
Duquesne sophomore guard Eric Williams Jr led the team with 19 points and eight rebounds, while the team also received contributions from redshirt sophomore center Michael Hughes (12 points) and freshman guard Sincere Carry who netted 10 points.
Dayton was led by freshman forward Obi Toppin’s 19 points and seven rebounds, while Ryan Mikesell scored 17 points and also grabbed seven rebounds. Jalen Crutcher added nine assists.
“We played against a big, strong team and under our circumstances, if we’re not perfect, we’re not winning,” Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot said. “We just didn’t play a perfect game and we’re just so depleted inside I feel like we are a high school team at times.”
Duquesne attempted to rally several times in the second half, most notably cutting Dayton’s advantage to four points with 7:33 remaining in regulation, but as was the case anytime the Dukes got close, the visiting Flyers were able to make quick ball rotations and find Mikesell open for a corner three-point basket, which fell true on multiple occasions.
“We’re playing too many guys for too many minutes and too long,” said Dambrot. “We are making mistakes because we’re tired pretty much. Mikesell hurt us. Every time we cut it close, we gave up a three which is an issue.”
Duquesne will now move onto Atlantic 10 Championship play at the Barclays Center where it will face Saint Joseph’s Thursday night at 6 p.m. If Duquesne is able to win that game, it would play Davidson Friday night.
“I’m just trying to get over this one,” Dambrot said. “I watched Saint Joe’s play on television and I thought they played well. I think they are much better getting Kimble back and playing small with Clover. They are hard to guard. They’re playing better and did a pretty good job against VCU Friday. It wasn’t an easy game the first time and we had everyone healthy. They’ve got some older guys who are good players.”
In Friday’s practice, Dambrot stated that he wanted his team to play its best possible basketball heading into A-10’s but redshirt sophomore center Michael Hughes does not feel his team is there yet.
“We’ve got a couple of days to figure it out,” he said. “Not playing until Thursday night lets some guys get treatment and let the guys get the things we need to help us win this tournament.”
HE SAID IT
“Forget about the referees, forget about the bad plays, forget about bad shots and turnovers, put your raincoat on, let the water drip off of you and just play. When they get to that point, they’ll be better. I’ve had to do it, they need to do it.” – Dambrot
“I thought he played well tonight and really well at St. Bonaventure. His heart and brain are in the right place. He was the only one that really made early on. If he can put the ball in the basket, we need to play him and I thought he defended well tonight. He was emotionally engaged.” – Dambrot on Lamar Norman Jr’s play
PSN’s Zachary Weiss also took pictures from Saturday night’s contest, some of which can be found in this collage.