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Duquesne Battles Rival St. Bonaventure in the Semifinals of the A-10 Tournament

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Duquesne

Duquesne looks to continue their great season as they face bitter rival St. Bonaventure in the Semifinals of the A-10 Tournament Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Duquesne Outlook

Duquesne started conference play the worst way they could, losing five straight games and finding themselves 9-8 overall and the bottom of the A-10.

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They soon turned it around and had a fantastic ending to the regular season, winning 11 of their past 14 games overall, 10 of their last 13 A-10 games and six of their last seven contests to finish 20-11 overall and 10-8 in conference play.

The Dukes got great production from their senior guards, Dae Dae Grant and Jimmy Clark III, who both earned All-Conference Second Team honors for their play this season. Clark also earned All-Defensive Team honors for the second consecutive season himself.

Grant, aside from missing a few games due to a concussion, excelled for the Dukes scoring, averaging 16.7 points per game, sixth best in the A-10. Clark averaged 15.1 points per game himself, while also leading the Dukes with 3.8 assists per game and the conference with 78 steals, 2.3 per game.

Other players that stepped up their game include guards in first-year/walk-on Jake DiMichele and Kareem Rozier, as well as forwards in sophomore David Dixon, senior Tre Williams and graduate students in Dusan Mahorcic and Fousseyni Drame.

The improved form and great play down the stretch led them to back-to-back seasons of 20 wins for the first time in 50 years, and more importantly, the No. 6 seed in the A-10 Tournament, earning themselves a First Round bye.

Dukes at the A-10 Tournament

Duquesne handled No. 14 Saint Louis in the Second Round Wednesday night, 83-73, to move onto the Quarterfinals against No. 3 Dayton.

The Dukes took an early 12-2 lead, but the Billikens made a comeback to keep it close, 43-39 at halftime. The Dukes started the second half much like the first, with a 14-2 run that gave them a sizable lead. The Billikens tried to get back into the game, but never really threatened, allowing the Dukes to take the victory.

Clark led the way with 20 points, shooting 6-for-13 from the field and 4-for-6 from behind the arc. Grant was just behind Clark with 17 points of his own and led Duquesne with seven assists. Dixon finished in double digits with 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting from the floor and led with six rebounds. Mahorcic also had an efficient game, making all four of his baskets for eight points.

Duquesne also played a clean game, with just five turnovers, compared to Saint Louis, who turned it over 13 times, leading to 17 points for Duquesne.

The Dukes then upset the Flyers in the Quarterfinals Thursday night, 65-57, stunning the college basketball world.

A good first half from Duquesne gave them a 30-28 lead, but Dayton battled back, regaining the lead at 52-48 with 7:48 remaining.

Dixon got a dunk and DiMichele scored a 3-pointer to give the Dukes the lead back. Grant would make two free throws and then hit a big 3-pointer to put the Dukes up six points with four minutes remaining, as the Flyers struggled offensively.

DiMichele would score one more layup before Clark ended the game with a huge 3-pointer to give Duquesne the win.

This is the first time the Dukes have made it to the Semifinals since 2009, when they defeated the Flyers to make the Championship game. It was also the first win over a ranked team since 2014, when they defeated the Billikens at home.

Duquesne vs. St. Bonaventure History

St. Bonaventure holds the overall record in the all-time series against Duquesne, 70-63, as well as the Atlantic-10 record too, 43-35. They have had most of their success recently, 11-4 since Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot took over prior to the 2017-18 season, which includes winning streaks of five games and six games.

The Dukes have won three straight against the Bonnies, including home-and-away in the regular season. The win against the Bonnies at home on Jan. 23 served as the first A-10 win for the Dukes, while the road win back on Feb. 10 saw the Dukes jump out to a sizable lead before holding on for the 75-69 victory. 

St. Bonaventure is 4-2 against Duquesne in the A-10 Tournament, with the last game coming in 2021, where St. Bonaventure demolished Duquesne, 75-57 en route to winning the title that season.

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!

St. Bonaventure Outlook

St. Bonaventure looked like they had a shot to get a double-bye in the A-10 Tournament, after they secured important wins against UMass on the road on Feb. 24 and Loyola Chicago at home on Feb. 27. That all came undone when they suffered bad losses to George Mason on the road on March 6 and Saint Louis at home last Saturday.

Both of the Bonnies wins came in close games and down to the last shot. The La Salle Explorers almost tied the game at the buzzer, but junior guard Daeshon Shepherd missed the dunk, giving the Bonnies a 75-73 win in the Second Round.

Their quarterfinals matchup saw them face the Ramblers again in a brilliant game with great plays from both sides. The Ramblers built a double-digit early in the second half, but the Bonnies held them scoreless the final six minutes to tie it up and send it to overtime.

The game would go to double-overtime, with redshirt senior guard Daryl Banks making three free throws to put St. Bonaventure in front. Loyola Chicago had one last shot, but a missed 3-point attempt put St. Bonaventure into the Semifinals for their third matchup with Duquesne.

The Bonnies excelled throughout conference play shooting free throws, third best at 76.7%, and have continued that into the A-10 Tournament. They shot 19-for-24, 79.2%, against the Explorers and an outstanding 27-for-31, 87.1% against the Ramblers.

Banks was a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line against Loyola Chicago, while graduate student guard Mika Adams-Woods shot 5-for-5, sophomore forward Assa Essamvous shot 4-for-4 and redshirt junior center Noel Brown shot 5-for-6 in the win.

The best player in conference play for the Bonnies was 6-foot-10 redshirt junior Chad Venning. He led the team with 14.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, respectively. Venning also finished sixth best in A-10 play with 1.7 blocks per game, and he was eighth best shooting 52.9% from the field. He earned All-Conference Second Team honors for his efforts.

St. Bonaventure also shoot the ball well as a team, fourth best shooting 45.2% from the field and ranked tied for third best shooting 37.8% from behind the arc.

Adams-Woods, Banks and graduate student guard Charles Pride all excel shooting all-around the court. Adams-Woods was seventh best in the conference making 43.1% of his attempts from 3-point range and 13th best from the foul line at 82.5%. Banks leads the team with 1.7 3-pointers per game, was 10th best in conference play from the foul line, 83.7% and ranked tied for No. 18 shooting 38.8% from deep. Pride was second best on the team shooting 46.0% from the field and 41.2% from 3-point range and was the best from the foul line, 84.2%, eighth best in the conference.

The Bonnies also had the second best turnover margin compared to opponents at 2.17. Adams-Woods ranked tied for No. 8 in conference play with a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio and led the team with 3.3 assists.

Keys for Duquesne

Duquesne has defeated St. Bonaventure twice this season and used their defense to earn their victories.

The Bonnies shot 40.0% from the field in the loss at home and 27.1% in the loss on the road, with the latter as their worst shooting percentage as a team this season. They also shot lower than 35% from 3-point range in both games, with the Dukes the best in conference play defending those shots, allowing just 29.5% opponent 3-point field goals.

Clark led the team in scoring in both of those wins and has been excellent for the team this season overall. His distribution, his steals and his ability to score from anywhere on the floor makes it incredibly difficult for defenses to stop him.

His work with Grant, who is one of the best scorers in the conference, make for a great duo. If the two can come together again, they’ll play a large role in a big victory for the Dukes.

Williams is likely out with an injury he sustained late against Dayton. This means that Dixon, Drame, Mahorcic must stay out of foul trouble and strong defensively to give Duquesne and edge defensively.

If the Dukes keep the Bonnies off the free throw line and take advantage on the boards, they’ll likely make their first A-10 Final since 2009.

Duquesne vs. St. Bonaventure Odds

Duquesne is a slight -1.5 favorite against St. Bonaventure, according to ESPNBet and FanDuel.

How to Watch/Tip-Off

No. 6 Duquesne and No. 7 St. Bonaventure will battle it out on CBS Sports Network at 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon. The tip-off is subject to change, depending on how long the first semifinal, No. 5 VCU vs. No. 9 Saint Joseph’s, goes on for as they start at 1:00 p.m.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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