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Duquesne Basketball Firing on all Cylinders in Strong 6-2 Start



Duquesne basketball

Duquesne basketball is off to a 6-2 start to the season and heads into another non-conference clash on Friday night against Saint Peter’s (3-4) at home.

So far, so good for Keith Dambrot this season, as the Dukes have won some crucial early-season matchups and have only lost two games this season — one to 9-0 Princeton, and one to 7-2 Nebraska on the road.

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Through the first eight games, it appears that Dambrot and his team have been having all sorts of fun and have been playing, and winning, together.


Duquesne battled as hard as it could against Princeton at home, taking the Tigers down to the last possession and getting a relatively good look at the lead in the final seconds. Against Nebraska, the Dukes surrendered a 15-2 second-half run as the Cornhuskers pulled away.

Aside from those two losses, there hasn’t been much negativity around the Duquesne program and the fanbase this season, and for good reason. The Dukes dominated College of Charleston — an NCAA Tournament group last year — in Annapolis earlier this year. Then, on Wednesday, the Dukes went on the road and beat Marshall by 13. They also have strong home wins over UC Irvine and Cleveland State so far.

Dae Dae Grant and Jimmy Clark III have been stars. Both players, last year’s top-two leading scorers for the Dukes, are averaging more points per game (Grant – 19, Clark – 17) this season, leading Duquesne in just about every game so far this year. Grant even set the record for most-consecutive made free throws by a Duquesne player with 43 in the Dukes’ last game.


Behind those two, the Dukes have looked to several new faces — some transfers, some emerging returners — for production.

Kareem Rozier — who Dambrot called the best leader he has ever coached — has stepped up in a massive way this year for Duquesne. Rozier, a 5-foot-9 sophomore guard, has scored at least six points in seven out of eight games, including a 20-point career night against Charleston. He has also dished out at least three assists in six out of eight games this year, and only has 11 turnovers all season long.

Duquesne Basketball Runs on Rozier: ‘His Leadership Ability is Second-to-None’

Another returner that has been solid, this time in the front court, is David Dixon. Dixon has played in all eight games, and it seems as though as the season has gone on, he has gotten more productive with each game. Recently, he has games of 7 points (Nebraska), 12 points (UC Irvine), and 11 points (Marshall). In that three-game period, Dixon has hit 9 of his 17 attempts and 12 of his 19 free-throw tries.

Another impact player this season has been Andrei Savrasov — the Georgia Southern transfer. After posting huge numbers in his Sun Belt career, Savrasov joined the Dukes this offseason and has been an important piece of the puzzle so far. With seven-plus points in six games this year, he has played a solid scoring role in the starting lineup. The 6-foot-7 forward has been able to defend bigger and smaller players at his position with his athleticism and size and has been scoring the ball even better in the past couple of games. Against UC Irvine, he had a season-best 15. Against Marshall, 14 on 4-for-5 shooting.

You can’t tell the story of the early-season Dukes’ success without the Drame twins — two transfers from La Salle. Fousseyni has played almost 100 more minutes this year than his brother, Hassan, but both have been crucial for the Dukes at times. Fousseyni is averaging 8.5 points and a team-high 6.5 rebounds per game so far, which has been crucial as the Dukes have been nursing some front court injuries since day one. Hassan has turned in three games of six-plus points, including an 11-point debut against Cleveland State.

The Dukes have as much talent as they have in a while, and the wins are starting to roll in. In addition to the players above, the Dukes’ depth is as strong as it has been under Dambrot. Tre Williams, who has been battling injuries, exciting freshman Jakub Necas, improving big man Halil Barre, and young guards Kailon Nicholls and Jake DiMichele have all shown flashes this season.

Catch the Dukes in action on Friday night at 7 p.m. on ESPN+ or live from the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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