MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — St. Bonaventure fans filled the section behind its teams’ bench and started a ‘Let’s Go Bonnies!’ chant that made Duquesne fans wake just minutes before tip-off on Saturday afternoon. Dukes fans responded with a loud ‘Let’s Go Dukes!’ chant to silence the visiting bunch.
This exchange described the next 40-minutes of A-10 basketball that was about to be played at the UPMC Events Center, on the Robert Morris University campus.
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Duquesne (17-6, 7-4 A-10) and St. Bonaventure (16-8, 8-3) came into the game tied for third place in conference play, both looking to stack wins to build their postseason resume.
The result was a back-and-forth battle between evenly matched teams, with the Dukes falling one possession short in an 83-80 defeat.
Trailing from the 5:11 mark in the first half on, a 9-0 Dukes run over four minutes of game time tied the game at 77 apiece. But St. Bonaventure point guard Kyle Lofton drilled a 3-pointer with 1:10 to snatch back the momentum. Sincere Carry failed to hit his attempt on the other end, and suddenly the Bonnies were back in control.
Dominick Welch made a pull-up 15-footer the following possession that officially ruined the Dukes comeback chances.
Duquesne guard Tavian Dunn-Martin scored a game-high 25 points with seven 3-pointers – 16 more than his season average of nine per contest. Backcourt mate Sincere Carry nailed three 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes of the second half after going scoreless heading into halftime and ended with 17 points and eight assists.
Subpar defense, as well as living and dying by the 3-point shot, showed to be the dagger for Duquesne, as St. Bonaventure shot 49.2% from the field and simply got more stops in the victorious effort.
Duquesne leading scorer Marcus Weathers, and fellow starting big man Mike Hughes combined for just two made field goals on the night. The Bonnies double-teamed the two impact bigs every chance they could. Hughes added six rebounds and six blocks. The Dukes had just 20 points in the paint.
Early on, Dunn-Martin made one clutch 3-pointer after another. He drained four in the first half and led the Dukes with 16 points after the first 20-minutes. Baylee Steele supported Dunn-Martin, adding 10 points.
The Bonnies shot the ball at an even better clip in the first half, shooting 51.6% from the field and nearly 56% from the 3-point line.
The Bonnies started four sophomores and a freshman. Lofton led his team with 21 points (4-of-5 from the 3-point line). They also got double-figure scoring outcomes from Jaren English (15), Welch (14) and Osun Osunniyi (12).
Up next, Duquesne will travel to face Fordham (7-14, 1-8 A-10) on the road next Sunday, Feb. 16.