Duquesne Men’s Basketball Coach Keith Dambrot cautioned that his team displayed tired legs in Monday’s victory over North Florida and that continued to be a battle Wednesday night in what was a 75-57 victory over Alabama State at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse.
Dae Dae Grant once again led Duquesne (5-1) in points with his 23, while also grabbing seven rebounds. Austin Rotroff added his first double-double of the season, amassing 12 points and 10 rebounds. Quincy McGriff contributed a season high 11 points. David Dixon recorded a season high five blocks in 15 minutes before fouling out.
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Alabama State (0-6) was paced by both Jordan O’Neal and Isaiah Range’s 10 points. As a team, the Hornets won the rebounding battle 45-37, which included 24 offensive boards.
Duquesne’s rebounding issues started early, especially following up Alabama State’s misses, giving them additional opportunities from closer range.
Dukes coach Keith Dambrot reacted to this by substituting Austin Rotroff in try to use the 7.4 rebounds he averages a game to assist.
The normally workmanlike Rotroff had one rebound in his first seven minutes as Duquesne continued making the same mistake, something the team had to overcome considering the continued lack of options due to injuries and suspension.
Rotroff would rebound from his start, but Duquesne was doubled up 28-14 in first-half rebounds. The total was so staggering that Alabama State’s 17 offensive rebounds were more than the Dukes entire output on the boards.
Duquesne’s scoring started with a Tevin Brewer three-point shot, but it was a 7-2 run following the first media timeout, which placed it in front, though this would be short lived, as the Hornets would score the game’s next five points.
While a lot of the first half was predicated on runs, Duquesne would lead 37-28 when Tre Clark hit a buzzer beater.
The Dukes rallied to shoot 42.9% from the field in the half.
Duquesne was finally able to pull away when it went on a 14-0 run over 3:14 of game action. Even when Alabama State answered with a basket, Dixon scored a basket and was fouled.
Duquesne continues its non-conference slate Tuesday against UC Santa Barbara in a game which tips off at 7 p.m.