Friday night was supposed to pass by without much circumstance. Very few games were on the schedule and not much stood out.
Duquesne had different ideas.
The Dukes came away with a surprising 64-55 win over crosstown rival Pitt. The Panthers came into the contest after a win at Maryland as part of the Big 10-ACC Challenge, and were 6-1 on the season. Duquesne, on the hand, entered the night 3-5. Among those five losses was a 81-72 head-screatcher against UMBC earlier in the week.
Momentum should have been on the side of Pitt. But, as they say there is a reason they don’t play the games on paper. Pitt’s offense struggled, shooting just 33 percent overall for the game and only 3-of-22 from three. The Dukes took advantage by keeping the game close in the first half and then outscoring Pit by 10 in the second.
Emile Blackman led the way for the Dukes. He poured in 21 points, including 4-of-7 from three. Some of the most clutch points were scored by freshman Mike Lewis II. The Dukes led by just two points with under three minutes to play. Less than a minute later, they had a seven point lead after Lewis II ripped off five consecutive points including three from the free throw line after being fouled attempting a three.
The Dukes improve to 4-5 on the season. They now carry some momentum into their next game, another regional rivalry against Robert Morris on Tuesday.
Opening weekend for MAAC play
Believe it or not, conference play is already here! Well, at least for a weekend. The MAAC takes a short break from the non-conference season to kick off conference play.
Last year’s MAAC tournament champions Iona traveled to St. Peter’s to take on the Peacocks and came away with a 79-65 victory. The Gaels used a balanced offensive attack with all five starters finishing with double digit scoring totals. Jon Severe knocked down five three pointers for Iona en route to a 19-point evening. Iona is now 4-2 overall on the year.
Canisius also picked up a road win in their conference opener against Manhattan by a 77-76 final. The Golden Griffins erased a 14-point halftime deficit on a Kassius Robertson three pointer, one of his five made on the evening, to tie the game with 4:04 to play. Canisius was then able to close out the final minutes for the win. Jermaine Crumpton led the Golden Griffins with 26 points and 9 rebounds.
Elsewhere, Marist changed the fortunes of MAAC home teams on Friday evening by defeating Niagara 72-66. Kentrall Brooks came off the bench for the Red Foxes to record a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Marist moves to 4-4 overall while Niagara falls to 1-6.
Other Mid-Major Action
- CSU Bakersfield dropped a 49-43 slugfest on the road to SMU. The Roadrunners’ Damiyne Durham led all scorers with 14 points. CSU Bakersfield now sits at 5-4 and will travel to Northern Arizona on Monday.
- The San Francisco Dons are off to a 6-1 start after an 82-63 win at home against Lamar. Chase Foster finished with 20 points to pace the Dons.
- North Dakota State rolled to an 85-67 win on the road against North Carolina A&T. Dexter Werner recorded a double-double to lead the Bison with 16 points and 12 rebounds. The Bison are now 6-3 on the year.
- The Citadel scored a ton of points again, beating Colgate 108-101. Zane Najdawi dropped 30 points for the Bulldogs and went 16-for-17 from the free throw line. The Bulldogs move to 5-3 on the season and this game marks the fifth time they have eclipsed the 100-point mark this year. They also have not scored less than 97 points in any of their five wins.