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Duquesne Relying on Strong Chemistry On, Off the Court During Late Season Grind



Coming off a win over George Washington, Duquesne now sits at 15-8 on the year with an even .500 conference record of 5-5.

The Dukes have eight conference matchups remaining on the year before the A10 Tournament in Brooklyn, New York. Five of those eight, including each of the next three, will come right at home at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse.

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Duquesne has won two of its last three games after dropping three of four games from Jan. 7 to Jan. 21. Over its past three games, Dae Dae Grant has averaged 18 points and 6.3 rebounds per game with just four total turnovers, while Jimmy Clark III has averaged 14.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game in that span. Forwards Tre Williams and Joe Reece have each contributed as well, as Reece is averaging 9.3 points and four rebounds per contest in his last three and Williams is averaging seven points and 2.3 blocks per game.

“I just love the group here and how much we gel together,” Grant told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “It’s just really family-oriented and not only just about basketball every time, every day, every second of the day. It’s more so other things. ‘Are you alright,’ checking in on people, just things of that nature to just make sure everybody’s mental health space is good as well as physical space.”

Grant, the team’s leading scorer on the season, spent three years at Miami Ohio before coming to Pittsburgh to join the Dukes this past offseason. In the time since, he has built a tight bond with his entire group of teammates already.

“We do a lot,” Grant said about the team’s off-the-court activity. “People come to my crib and chill. We watch games, hoops, in the living room. We go bowling, out to eat, we go to the mall after classes. Some of them go to games and stuff, we go out and support our [Duquesne] games, try to get others to support our games, pass out flyers, stuff like that around campus. We have meetings and dinners, go out to eat, so it’s a various amount of things that we do to try to stay connected.”

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“One of the things we do, is we like to go to the movies, man,” Williams added with a smile. “I’ve been to the movies here probably about 20 times. That’s something we do as a group often.”

Grant, Williams, and the rest of the Dukes will look to capitalize on the tremendous team chemistry that they have built throughout the rest of the year to finish strong in league play and make a run in the Atlantic 10 tournament.

“I think they have phenomenal bonds,” head coach Keith Dambrot told PSN. “They are really close. Like each other, spend a lot of time together, which gives them a good chance to have success, no question about it.”

Dambrot’s squad takes on George Mason up next on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. from the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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