Bowling Green’s 12-0 run to end Wednesday’s night game was enough to put it over the top by a 78-70 score over the Duquesne Men’s Basketball Team at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse.
Duquesne (3-5) was led by Leon Ayers III’s 20 points, while Kevin Easley scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Not to be outdone, Tre Williams scored 12 points, while skying for 12 rebounds of his own.
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Bowling Green (3-4) saw Joe Reece scored 15 and grabbed 12 rebounds, while his teammate, Kaden Metheny totaled 15 points of his own. Samari Curtis contributed 14 points and dished out seven assists. Daeqwon Plowden earned 13 points and nine rebounds.
It was Bowling Green which struck first on the scoreboard, as it put the opening four points on the scoreboard and ratcheted up defensive pressure.
Easley broke the ice for Duquesne in its 10-0 response that set the pace.
Duquesne had active hands early as four of the team’s five starters had at least one rebound, with Tyson Acuff grabbing four and maintaining possession for the Dukes.
After missing his first two shots, both from three, Ayers fired again, this time successful from three-point range as he scored 10 points in the early going.
Duquesne led by as many as 11 points after Jackie Johnson drained a three-point shot, but Bowling Green had an answer at the ready as it went on a 14-3 run over five minutes to take a one-point lead.
Undeterred, Duquesne closed the first half on a 7-0 run to lead 38-32 at halftime of a period which featured five different lead changes.
Bowling Green, which shot 36.1% from the field in the first half, opened the second 20 minutes by burying four of its first six shots from the field.
Duquesne was able to maintain its shooting clip as it continued to feed each other in rhythm for higher-percentage shots.
The Dukes entered Atlantic 10 play averaging 9.7 assists per game, last in the conference, but had eight on 13 first-half baskets.
By the under-12 media timeout in the second half, Duquesne built that number to 12.
As Bowling Green started to make some baskets, Duquesne looked to try and slow the attack down, subbing in Mike Bekelja, his first action since Nov. 19.
Following Duquesne’s last game against American, Dambrot had talked about Bekelja not being used, but with the Dukes needing defensive stops, it turned to a player they believe to be their best on-ball defender.
The move had mixed results, but Duquesne hit another cold spell, committing several unforced errors as it went scoreless for just over three minutes. In the meantime, Bowling Green went on a 10-0 run to retake the lead.
Ayers was able to use his ballhandling abilities to create separation and bury another three-point shot, but the momentum was undone when Reece converted an and-one play to tie the game once again.
Duquesne went scoreless for the final 2:47 as Curtis nailed the go-ahead three-point basket. The Dukes had multiple looks to tie the game or take the lead, but none fell as the foul game ensued.
Duquesne will take to the road Saturday when it faces Marshall with a 7 p.m. tipoff on the docket with ESPN+ carrying the broadcast.