The Duquesne Men’s Basketball Team opened Atlantic 10 play with all of its injured players back on the court but could not find consistent rhythm losing 69-57 to Dayton Wednesday night at UD Arena.
Duquesne (10-4/0-1 Atlantic 10) was led by Tre Clark’s 15 points and Tevin Brewer returned, scoring nine of his 11 points in the first half. Leading scorer Dae Dae Grant was held to eight points. The Dukes were outrebounded by 14 points in this contest, though its bench outscored the Flyers 30-3.
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Dayton (9-5/1-0) saw DaRon Holmes II lead the way with his double-double consisting of 22 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. R.J. Blakney set a season high scoring 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Mustapha Amzil added 13 points.
Duquesne missed its first five three-pointers before Brewer utilized a second-chance opportunity to bury a triple. Duquesne would shoot 5-of-21 from three on the evening.
Defensively, the Dukes were able to switch to a full-court press which forced six turnovers that translated into nine points.
Down four, Duquesne rushed several shots and committed multiple miscues as part of a scoreless stretch exceeding three minutes.
Dayton would reconnect offensively, pulling down four offensive rebounds in one possession and the next time down the court buried a three-point shot attempt. Blakney was a leader on this team surpassing his scoring average before halfway through the opening 20 minutes.
Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot would call two timeouts in the first half during this time.
After the second timeout, Duquesne committed a turnover and Dayton would covert a high-percentage basket.
Duquesne went with 12 players as Brewer, R.J. Gunn and Kareem Rozier all returned from injury. This gave each an opportunity to earn minutes and for Dambrot to start determining which combinations can work and also begin formulating a potential rotation.
The post depth was tested in the first half as Joe Reece picked up two fouls in three minutes and Tre Williams also had a pair of first-half fouls. Additionally, Halil Barre, went down after a late first-half putback, favoring his knee. He would return in the second half.
He was replaced by Austin Rotroff who capitalized on Brewer being triple teamed as he fired a driving floater. The uncovered Rotroff easily converted the putback and then benefitted once more, this time from Clark winding the shot clock down and being open for a dunk just before the halftime buzzer.
Dayton shot 51.7% from the field in the first half but fell back with 12 turnovers. Even so, the Flyers led 37-32 at halftime.
As the second half began, Dayton struggled to get a rhythm offensively, but when Clark was given a whistle on a screening action, the Flyers settled in.
Williams picked up two additional fouls in the early stages of the second half and Holmes in transition went to work, maneuvering around two Dukes for a dunk, which restored the Dayton advantage to double digits.
That lead remained as Holmes was able to break down both Barre and Rotroff, with the latter falling trying to defend.
Dayton would lead by as many as 15 points on two occasions, but Duquesne had multiple chances with four minutes remaining in regulation to bring this one back to single digits, but a reverse layup was off the mark and so was a jumper in traffic.
Holmes, again surrounded by two Dukes would score once more, putting the advantage out of reach.
Duquesne returns home Saturday hoping to conclude 2022 on a positive note when it hosts Rhode Island at 1 p.m.