PITTSBURGH — The Duquesne men’s basketball team fell 72-59 Wednesday night to Davidson at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse in a contest which could have seeding implications down the line. The Dukes had been 5.5-point favorites to win.
Duquesne (12-10/3-6 A-10) had Jake DiMichele lead the way with his 15 points. Fousseyni Drame contributed 14 points and David Dixon 10. The Dukes’ bench outscored Davidson 33-16.
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Davidson (13-9/3-6 A-10) saw Connor Kochera achieve 19 points, while Grant Huffman swished in 18 points. Bobby Durkin added 11 points. The Wildcats outrebounded the Dukes 36-31 and shot 18-for-20 at the free-throw line.
Duquesne clicked early offensively as DiMichele found a three-point basket and converted two free throws, as the Dukes led by four at the first media timeout.
It was at that point that Duquesne’s offense went flat as it went 8:16 without a made basket. In a repeated scene from last year, Davidson continued to back cut and motion to find open three-point shooters in rhythm, dictating play.
When Duquesne’s offense did surface, it came through multiple and-one plays from Dixon. That momentum was short lived as the Dukes were held to one three-point basket in the first half and recorded one assist. Davidson, which has an 11-1 series record against Duquesne, led the Dukes 35-25 at halftime.
Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot tried to put a defensively-oriented lineup with Jakub Necas inserted. The defensive lineup struggled to find the bottom of the net, until Drame drilled a four-point play. That sequence helped bring the Dukes to within eight points and brought the crowd to its feet. As quickly as Duquesne generated energy it lost it as Huffman knocked down a pair of midrange shots.
The Dukes utilized a 9-0 run as Davidson was held scoreless for over four minutes, separating both team by six points. After Kareem Rozier encouraged the crowd, he dove on the floor coming out of a Wildcats timeout.
Davidson remained in front as Rozier once again dove to the floor, came up with possession and found Grant for a three-point basket as both teams reached the under-eight media timeout in a four-point affair.
Right after that play, Grant picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench. With this, Duquesne saw its margin for error drop, but some miscues allowed an opportunistic Davidson to seize control down the stretch.
Duquesne resumes A-10 play Saturday against St. Bonaventure. The Dukes bested the Bonnies 54-50 Jan. 23 during the first meeting between these teams.