The Duquesne Men’s Basketball Team never trailed in its 79-70 victory over VCU Wednesday night at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse.
This was Duquesne’s (12-4/2-0 Atlantic 10) first victory over VCU in five attempts when the contest was contested in Pittsburgh.
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Tre Clark led the way for Duquesne, scoring a career-high 26 points against his former team, shooting 10-for-17 from the field. His five steals also tied a career high. Dae Dae Grant achieved double figures for the 14th time in 16 games with his 13 points, and R.J. Gunn also contributed 13 points towards Duquesne’s cause.
Brandon Johns Jr paced VCU (10-5/1-1 A-10) with his 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Jamir Watkins (18), Jayden Nunn (13) and Ace Baldwin Jr (10) rounded out the quartet of double-figure scorers.
Duquesne got off to a fast start, with Joe Reece connecting twice from the free throw line. VCU kept up early on, but Grant created the separation with two transition three-point baskets. The Dukes owned an 8-2 fastbreak edge heading into the first media timeout.
VCU went scoreless for 6:04 of game action, while Duquesne enjoyed a 13-0 run. During this stretch, Duquesne was able to use more of its rotation and also give Grant a brief break.
Grant’s departure did no harm to a Duquesne team determined to string successful plays together on both sides of the ball.
VCU was struggling with its shot making, often forcing shots up in an effort to gain a spark, but ultimately only complicated its troubles.
One saving grace for the Rams in the half was its 11 free throws, eight of which went in. Duquesne committed 10 fouls to VCU’s five, and took four free throws.
Duquesne shot 45.2% from the field in the first half, and made as many three-point baskets (seven) as VCU converted shots, taking a 37-22 halftime lead in the process.
VCU missed all five of its three-point first half field goals and also had one assist in the opening half. Duquesne had nine assists, but also committed 10 turnovers.
As the second half got underway, VCU changed gears, outscoring Duquesne 13-5. Though the Rams committed a technical foul at the free throw line, Duquesne made two of the four free throws as VCU cut its deficit to seven points.
Following the stoppage, each team had a standout with Clark and Johns each finding success. Clark scored 12 of 15 points, while Johns scored eight of 10, keeping both teams offensively engaged.
Duquesne was then able to catch fire from three, with Grant waving off his team and burying a long trifecta as the lead extended back to 17.
VCU would attempt its havoc defense late in the game, but it would not disrupt the Dukes all that much.
Duquesne will next take to the road for its next three contests beginning with a Saturday contest at Richmond. The game will tip off at 6 p.m. and be carried by ESPN+.