MOON, PA — All second half long, the Duquesne men’s basketball team had been enjoying a lead but when Saint Louis cut that advantage to two points, a certain amount of silence filled the UPMC Events Center.
That silence was quickly lifted when junior guard Tavian Dunn-Martin was able to make his fifth three-point basket of the evening. When Duquesne doubled down on a three from graduate student Baylee Steele, the Dukes reclaimed their composure and were able to re-gain control.
Duquesne opened Atlantic 10 play with a Thursday night with a 73-59 victory over Saint Louis.
Marcus Weathers led all scorers with a career high 26 points. Dunn-Martin added 21 points, while Sincere Carry added 12 points, five rebounds and eight assists. Additionally, Mike Hughes matched a career high with his seven blocks.
Saint Louis was led by Jordan Goodwin’s 14 points though Duquesne held him without a double-double for the second time in the last nine games. Terrence Hargrove added 11 points and Hasahn French flirted with a double-double settling for eight points and 12 rebounds.
Saint Louis scored the game’s first five points as Duquesne struggled to get into a rhythm early but kept the deficit manageable as the Billikens were not able to capitalize enough on their opportunities.
Duquesne led Saint Louis 28-25 at halftime thanks to some hustle plays and timely free throws.
Redshirt junior center Michael Hughes won a 50-50 ball and was in the proper position when French picked up his second foul. Saint Louis coach Travis Ford was displeased with the call as French joined Jordan Goodwin on the bench.
The pair were both on the bench during the closing minute and are the two players Ford depends on most to the point that he tries to keep at least one of said players on the court for all 40 minutes.
Hughes’s free throws gave Duquesne its first lead of the contest. When Saint Louis’s Jimmy Bell Jr matched him, the Dukes were able to claim the halftime lead on Sincere Carry’s first three-point shot of the game.
Saint Louis still had 16 seconds left to respond but Dunn-Martin drew a charge on Bell allowing Duquesne to remain in front.
Perhaps the biggest key for Duquesne taking this lead was the rebounding battle. When Saint Louis had the early advantage, it owned a 9-3 rebounding edge, but by half’s end Duquesne was on top 22-21.
When the two teams met in Pittsburgh last season, Saint Louis won this battle by a decisive 54-31 margin.
Often times, Duquesne did not challenge the three-point line in an effort to gain better position for rebounds which would better allow for the Dukes to set up their offense.
Duquesne opened the second half on a 7-2 scoring run extending its lead with the last basket in this run coming from Weathers who was fouled on the play. A frustrated Ford called for a timeout immediately after the basket.
The frustration continued for Saint Louis as it opened the half 2-for-13 from the field and Hughes was having his way with Billiken shots blocking attempt after attempt.
Though Saint Louis brought the game to a one-possession affair, it was undone by late-game mistakes and a 7-for-18 performance from the free throw line.
Duquesne will continue Atlantic 10 play Sunday afternoon when it hosts Davidson. The contest will also be held at the UPMC Events Center.