Duquesne continues to struggle this season, as they lost their fourth-straight game after falling to Saint Joseph, 72-61, on Wednesday night at Hagan Arena in Philadelphia, Pa. The Dukes played Saint Joseph (9-10, 3-5) tough and led 50-47 at the 10:43 mark in the second half after trailing by 11 at halftime, but they collapsed down the stretch and were outscored 19-4 in the final 8:30 of the game. Duquesne is now 6-12 on the season and 1-5 in the Atlantic 10.
“I thought we made a good comeback, but we haven’t shown that we can consistently close anything,” Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot said after the game. “You can’t feel too good about yourself until you can consistently close something.”
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Duquesne had stretches where they were hitting on all cylinders against Saint Joseph, but there were just too many lapses, especially at the end of the game.
“I thought in the middle of the game we did a really good job defensively. From the last three minutes of the first half until we took the lead, but we died on the vine again,” Dambrot said. “We are just not cohesive enough as a group. Both physically, mentally, and relationship-wise.”
Jackie Johnson III led Duquesne with 19 points and made four three-pointers. Saint Joseph’s leading scorer was Jordan Hall who had 18 points and three triples. The Hawks had five players who scored double digits, along with four players who made at least three triples. Overall, Saint Joseph was 12-of-26 (46.2%) from behind the arc. The Dukes shot well from deep as well, as they made eight of their 14 three-point attempts (57.1%).
Saint Joseph shot 27-of-59 (45.8%) from the field, while Duquesne was 24-of-59 (40.7%). The Hawks also out-rebounded Duquesne, 34-29.
Saint Joseph led Duquesne, 20-12, in the opening 10 minutes of the first half. Both the Dukes and Hawks were efficient from behind the arc, as St. Joseph converted 6-of-7 three-point attempts and Duquesne was 4-of-4. Duquesne center Tre Williams made a mid-range jumper to make it a one-possession game at 21-18 with 7:17 left in the first half. The Dukes scored just one basket in almost four minutes after Williams’ jumper, and Saint Joseph went on a 7-0 run to advance their lead to 32-20. Amir Spears nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer to cut Saint Joseph’s lead to 38-27 at halftime.
Johnson led the Dukes with eight points in the first half, while Erik Reynolds II was Saint Joseph’s leading scorer with 10 points. Jordan Hall was second in points for the Hawks with nine and was 3-of-3 from behind the arc.
Duquesne was 11-of-29 (37.9%) from the field in the first half and was 5-of-7 (71.4%) on three-point attempts. St. Joseph made 13 of their 29 shots (44.8%) from the field and were 7-of-13 (53.8%) from behind the arc.
After trailing by 11 points at halftime, the Dukes went on an 8-0 run and cut Saint Joseph’s lead to 43-38 at the 16:24 mark. Johnson converted two foul shots and then had a steal on the next possession, which resulted in a layup to make it a 5-point game. Kevin Easley followed with a jumper to make it a 3-point game. A few minutes later, Johnson drained a long three-pointer to put the Dukes up 44-43 with 14:53 left. It was Duquesne’s first lead since the 19:33 mark in the first half.
After going back and forth in lead changes, Saint Joseph went on a 10-3 run and led 64-56 with 4:56 remaining. The Hawks made two triples during the scoring surge, which gave them 11 three-pointers on the night. Saint Joseph went up by double-digits again after a dunk by Ejike Obinna.
Duquesne wasn’t able to muster a late comeback, as they had trouble stopping Obinna down low. Obinna scored eight points in the final four minutes of the game and the Hawks pulled away with a 72-61 win.
“I feel like we kind of lost our mental toughness, and our will to win wilted,” Dambrot said about St. Joseph outscoring Duquesne 19-4 in the final 8:30 of the game.
To get on the right track and put an end to their four-game losing streak, Dambrot says they have to work on things in practice and be more consistent.
“We got to practice hard, got to play the right way consistently,” Dambrot said. “We just are very inconsistent. At times we guard really well and other times we don’t guard at all. At times we really move the ball and other times we don’t move the ball at all. A little short-handed overall, but we just have to play better.”
Duquesne’s next game is on Saturday, Jan. 29, against Saint Louis at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse. Tipoff is a 2 p.m.