Duquesne squeaked out a gritty, 56-54, win over Vermont on Saturday afternoon at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse. The win secured head coach Dan Burt with the all-time win record (177) for the Dukes, surpassing Dan Durkin. It was an ugly performance, but the Dukes will take it as they improve to 8-2 on the season.
The Dukes were dreadful from the field, converting just 20 of 64 shots (31.3%), and were a woeful 2 of 20 on three-pointers (10%). Vermont wasn’t much better, making 19 of 54 shots (35.2%) from the field and was 4 of 19 on triples (21.1%).
Duquesne basketball on Pittsburgh Sports Now is sponsored by The Summit Academy: setting young men on the path to a better future.
Precious Johnson led the Dukes with 17 points, going 5 of 5 from the free-throw line. Duquesne made up for its poor shooting by going 14 of 15 at the foul line (93.3%). Emma Utterback and Catherine Gilwee led Vermont with 17 points each.
Meghan McConnell had an off day, going 2 of 11 from the field and 0 of 4 from behind the arc. However, McConnell had a game-high 12 rebounds, three assists, and two steals. After a career-high game (23 points) in Wednesday night’s win over Kent State, Tess Myers only scored six points, but her three-pointer near the end of the game was a crucial play to lift the Dukes over Vermont.
Duquesne got out to a 12-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Dukes posted a 33.3 shooting percentage in the first, while the Catamounts were at 23.1%. Emma Utterback converted a layup to give Vermont its first lead, 20-18, at the 3:25 mark of the second quarter. Vermont then went on an 8-2 run to take a 28-20 lead. Tess Myers answered with a three-pointer to make it a five-point deficit at halftime. Myers’ three-pointer was the only triple by the Dukes in the first half.
Duquesne out-scored Vermont, 15-11, in the third quarter and trailed 39-38 heading into the fourth. Both teams continued to struggle from the field, but there was an improvement in the fourth quarter. Vermont was 5 of 8 and Duquesne was 5 of 10 at the 3:30 mark of the fourth with Vermont leading 50-49.
With under a minute left and the Dukes down 54-43, Burt designed a great play to set up a three-pointer by Myers to give the Dukes a 56-54 lead. Myers came off a ball screen and hit nothing but net. Myers then recorded a steal to give possession back to Duquesne. Vermont got a defensive stop, but a last-gasp three-pointer by Gilwe was to no avail.
The Dukes’ next game is on Friday, Dec. 16 against Temple in Philadelphia. Tipoff is at 7 p.m., and the game can be streamed on ESPN+.