The Duquesne Dukes claimed their first Atlantic 10 conference tournament victory since 2009. The Dukes defeated the No. 14 seed Saint Louis Billikens, 61-55, in the opening round of the Atlantic 10 conference tournament. Jim Ferry’s squad will advance to take on the No. 6 seed George Washington Colonials in the next round of the A-10 tournament.
Saint Louis failed to score in the final 3:45 of the game after clinging to a 1 point lead. The Billikens have failed to close out games all season and this game was no exception. SLU had a crucial turnovers and missed their final 5 field goal attempts as the Dukes scored the final 7 points of the game. Saint Louis completed their first-to-worst season by getting knocked out of the first round of the A-10 tournament.
The Billikens got hot from beyond the arc in the first half. The Bills shot 6-14 from 3-point range getting key contributions from Guards Mike Crawford and Marcus Bartley. Crawford and Bartley combined for 18 of the 26 the Bills scored in the first half. Crawford went 4-8 from the field and had a key steal in the closing seconds in the first half to stop the Duquesne Dukes from tying the game in the first half. Bartley went 3-4 in the first half scoring the opening bucket and closing out the first half to give the Billikens the lead going into halftime.
Duquesne struggled in the first half only going 1-9 from 3-point range. However, they were able to get transition buckets as Guards Micah Mason and Derrick Colter forced turnovers against the Billikens. They went on a 12-0 run after the Billikens scored the first six points of the game. Yet, they struggled to sustain that momentum as the Billikens responded by tying the game and eventually retaking the lead. Despite the struggles shooting from 3-point range, the Dukes came out hot in the second half.
The Dukes opened the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers to take a 1 point lead. The Billikens responded with 5 straight points and the game became a back and forth battle for most of the second half. The teams exchanged 3-pointers and tough jumpers, there were 9 lead changes during the second half. However, the real drama did not occur until the final 5 minutes of the game.
SLU called timeout after going down 5 points on a Micah Mason jumper. Out of the timeout, Mike Crawford collected a rebound and went up for a chance at a 3-point play. Crawford cut the Duquesne lead to two points. After a Duquesne turnover, SLU Guard Davell Roby hit a 3-pointer to reclaim the lead for the Billikens. Duquesne Forward L.G. Gill responded at the other end with a 3-pointer, but Roby hit another 3-pointer to give Saint Louis a 55-54 lead with 3:45 left in the second half. However, Roby’s 3-pointer would the final points of the game for the Billikens.
The Billikens could not get another shot to fall, they have struggled to close out tight games all season. They made numerous unforced errors and the Dukes capitalized on these errors to score the final 7 points of the game. SLU’s final chance to tie the game came with about a minute left in the game, but the shot rimmed out and the Bills were forced to foul. Jeremiah Jones and Derrick Colter closed out the game making 5 straight free throws to seal the game for Duquesne.
Duquesne will play George Washington on NBC Sports Network in the second round of the A-10 tournament at 9 p.m. eastern time.