The Duquesne Dukes men’s basketball team put their two game winning streak on the line, and were able to pull away from the Maine Black Bears in an 87-73 victory.
Leading all scorers with 19 points was Justin Edwards, while teammate Xavier Pollard added 17 points. Getting top honors for Duquesne was Jeremiah Jones with a career high 15 points with Kadeem Pantophlet adding his own career-high 14 points of his own, all scored in the second half of the game.
“Our guys did a great job of grinding out a quality win,” said Duquesne head coach Jim Ferry. “I thought we really guarded as a team which is what we needed to do today. Xavier Pollard and Justin Edwards are phenomenal guards if you let them break you down. We needed to defend as a team and rotate and I think our guys did a really good job of that.”
At the start of the game, it appeared that the Dukes would run away despite their second leading scorer Derrick Colter picking up two quick fouls. Leading scorer Sean Johnson nailed a three and then on a fastbreak Johnson made a bounce pass to Jeremiah Jones that resulted in a layup.
Down 5-0, Maine called a timeout and found the flow of their offense taking the lead. The Dukes would heat up and the substitution of Martins Abele paid dividends as he went after rebounds and sank two free throws to retake the lead.
Duquesne took threes often, moving the ball quickly and coming out of the second media timeout in the first half; Quevyn Winters made two 3-pointers during that span.
As the half wore on, Maine came back to tie the score at 25 and a Jon Mesghna three gave their first lead of the game at 30-28. The presence of Alasdair Fraser inside was huge and resulted in some easy baskets.
The first half saw perhaps its biggest moment when Maine led 37-35. Abele had a loud block, corralled the rebound and was fouled. This fired up the crowd and Abele would sink both free throws.
That 37-37 score would be the total at the half. The Dukes shot 43.3 percent from the field in the first half while Maine shot 42.9. Duquesne’s bench outscored Maine’s 24-4 but in the paint Maine won 18-12 and 10-3 in second chance points. The Black Bears won in rebounding as well 21-17.
The Dukes allowed another easy basket to Fraser to open the half but then found their game, taking a 45-39 lead assisted by Jeremiah Jones and Johnson treys. This forced Maine to use a timeout.
With a little over 15 minutes to go in the half, the Dukes were able to make Fraser foul for the fourth time in the game sending him to the bench.
The Dukes once again would rely on the 3-ball and Jeremiah Jones, Winters and Colter each contributed her catching and immediately shooting the ball into the basket.
The Dukes kept the lead with two more treys from Pantophlet, taking a 69-64 lead into the 8-minute mark of regulation.
With 6:19 left in regulation and the Dukes up 71-66, P.J. Torres from Duquesne was ejected from the game due to a flagrant foul.
“P.J. had mentioned that the one kid cheapshot him earlier and you know how that goes, the second one gets called,” Ferry said. “I didn’t see it, but obviously they went to the monitor and saw what obviously happened. We have to get control of ourselves and those are costly plays and points.”
Following that though the Dukes received better news as Pollard and Fraser fouled out from the game and their combined 31 points were taken out of the game.
Down the stretch, Duquesne was able to make its free throws to get the victory and move to 4-3 on the season. Up next for them is the annual City Game which will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Consol Energy Center.