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Duquesne Basketball

Duquesne Looks to Extend Winning Streak to Four Games with Win over St. Joe’s



Duquesne Basketball. Jimmy Clark III and Dae Dae Grant with HC Keith Dambrot

Duquesne is playing some of their best basketball of the season in mid-February, as they have won their past three games in Atlantic 10 play, the best start to the month since the 2001-02 season.

The Dukes (17-8 overall, 7-5 Atlantic 10) face an in-state foe at home Wednesday night in the St. Joe’s Hawks (13-12 overall, 7-6 Atlantic 10), who threaten to end that winning streak and continue their own.

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Duquesne and St. Joe’s faced off against each other in Philadelphia, Pa. on Jan. 11 in their first meeting of the season. Duquesne dominated offensively, scoring 60 first half points, the most in Keith Dambrot’s seven seasons as head coach. This included 20-for-30 shooting from the field and 10-for-13 shooting from 3-point range, which Duquesne used en route to a 92-80 victory. 

Graduate forward Rodney “RJ” Gunn Jr. played his best game for the Dukes, scoring a career high 26 points in the victory, shooting 8-for-10 from the field, 5-for-7 from behind the arc and 5-for-6 from the foul line.

Since that game, St. Joe’s have been playing great basketball, winning seven of their last nine after starting Atlantic 10 play with four straight losses. St. Joe’s won their last two games, which included an 83-71 win over Loyola Chicago on Feb. 8 and an 81-69 victory against George Washington at home last Saturday, Feb. 11.

Sophomore Erik Reynolds II leads the Hawks in scoring with 18.4 points per game, which is also third best in the Atlantic 10. The Dukes held him to just nine points in their victory on Jan. 11 and will need to do the same to win Wednesday night. It won’t be easy, as Reynolds has scored 14 or more points in the nine games since, averaging 20.1 points per game.

St. Joe’s senior guard Cameron Brown is another player Duquesne will need to keep in check in this matchup, as he is averaging 14.0 points per game. Brown scored a season-high 25 points against Duquesne on Jan. 11, shooting 8-for-14 from the field and making six of his 11 3-point attempts.

He is also a solid rebounder, averaging 6.1 rebounds per game, and great at getting steals, as his 1.9 steals per game ranks second in Atlantic 10 play this season. This makes him a versatile, two-way guard that Duquesne must prepare to stop on offense and neutralize defensively.

Reynolds and Brown are both great 3-point shooters, with Reynolds shooting 37.6% and Brown shooting 39.9% from behind the arc, respectively. Reynolds averages 2.8 3-pointers per game and Brown averages 2.7 3-pointers per game, good enough for first and third in the Atlantic 10, respectively.

Duquesne's 2024 March Madness Tournament coverage is sponsored by Leon's Billiards & More, Moon Golf Club and Archie's on Carson! Their contributions have allowed us to cover the Dukes run in Omaha, Nebraska. We appreciate their support!

Duquesne’s greatest strength this season and recently is their ability to create turnovers, while also limiting their own. They forced 18 turnovers against George Washington on Feb. 4, 21 turnovers against George Mason on Feb. 8 and 25 turnovers against St. Bonaventure last Saturday, Feb. 11, a season high for Duquesne.

The Dukes have used their defense to hold their last three opponents to an average of 57.7 points per game. They held the Patriots to 52 points and the Bonnies to 54 points, both the two lowest scoring totals the Dukes’ have held opponent to in 2022-23. They also made a season-high 15 steals against the Bonnies and also 10 each against both the Patriots and the Colonials.

The Dukes have used their opponents’ 64 turnovers over the past three games to score 86 points, a massive part for their success. They have scored 60 points off turnovers in the past two games, compared to just 23 points off turnovers by their opponents. The Dukes are the best team in Atlantic 10 play with a 3.76 turnover margin compared to their opponents.

Junior guard Dae Dae grant will need to feature as Duquesne’s top scorer, which he has done in the past six games, scoring in double-digits in all of them. Fellow junior guard, Jimmy Clark III, is the leading scorer for Duquesne in Atlantic 10 play, 13.2 points per game, and also leads the conference in steals, averaging 3.0 per game.

A win for Duquesne would make it four wins in February, the best start to the month in program history since joining the Atlantic 10 in 1976-77.

Duquesne has also played great at UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse this season. They hold a 14-3 overall record, 5-1 in Atlantic 10 play and are on a three-game winning streak at home. Duquesne also had the most people attend a game at UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse last Saturday in the win over St. Bonaventure, with a crowd of 3,333 on hand.

If the Dukes force turnovers and play like they’ve done so far at home this season, they should earn another important win as they try and move up the Atlantic 10 standings.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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