The Duquesne Men’s Basketball Team fell to 1-2 on the season, dropping a 63-59 contest to Weber State Monday night at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse.
Jackie Johnson III led all scorers with his 27 points, as the freshman guard went 9-for-19 from the field. Kevin Easley added 10 points, and Tre Williams grabbed nine rebounds.
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Weber State (2-0) saw Koby McEwen pace its side scoring 21 points, while teammate Dillon Jones earned his second double-double in as many games with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Cody Carlson achieved a double-figure point total, netting 10.
Duquesne had its strongest first half on the defensive end thus far into the season, holding Weber State to a 34.8% shooting clip. The Wildcats also committed eight turnovers and after averaging 81.8 points per game a season ago, and scoring 100 in the season opener, were contained to 23 points.
Mike Bekelja started for the first time this season, a recipe which a year ago resulted in Duquesne going undefeated and the defensive focus from the second half of Saturday’s game against Hofstra carried over.
The lack of offensive cohesion clearly frustrated a Weber State side which was held scoreless for 4:25 on two separate occasions. Leading scorer JJ Overton picked up three fouls and his absence was clearly felt on the court.
Reigning Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week Primo Spears was in foul trouble for the first half, picking up two early on, and a third later on in the period and Johnson was asked to sub in. Johnson responded to the challenge with nine points and was a +8 in eight minutes of play.
Down 10 early in the second half, Weber State’s offense started to show form going on a 7-0 run as the first media timeout approached. Duquesne rallied to offer a response as Bekelja fed Tyson Acuff for a three-point basket. Weber State wound up using a 7-0 run to take a one-point advantage.
Johnson then opted to test his range firing a long three-point try which successfully fell through the hoop.
Down three, McEwen’s ballhandling provided separation from Johnson which resulted in the game being tied.
As play continued, whistles were consistently called against Duquesne, to the tune of a 14-3 margin into the final media timeout, which helped Weber State’s cause. The final margin was 16-7.
Another deep triple from Johnson and two free throws from Spears tied the game up, before the teams traded baskets.
With 1:03 remaining in regulation, Johnson got trapped and was assessed a technical foul as Duquesne was out of timeouts and he verbally asked for one to be called.
Weber State split free throws, and on the offensive end, Johnson’s deep three-point shot early in the shot clock fell short.
Duquesne had an opportunity to take the lead but Easley turned the ball over and fouled out as he had to disqualify himself to prevent an easy basket.
On what turned out to be its final offensive possession, Spears’s three-point shot missed and Leon Ayers went out of bounds, trying to create space for another potential game-tying trifecta.
Duquesne will next travel to the Virgin Island for four games, with the first coming Friday at 5:45 p.m. against Northeastern. Duquesne is 1-1 lifetime against the Huskies.