Dukes fall to Bonnies in sloppy contest, 51-49

Courtesy of Duquesne Athletics | Duquesne forward Marcus Weathers boxes out a Dayton opponent on Feb. 2, 2019.
Courtesy of Duquesne Athletics | Duquesne forward Marcus Weathers boxes out a Dayton opponent on Feb. 2, 2019.

Jacob Hebda | Staff Writer

Feb. 7, 2019

Duquesne fell 51-49 to St. Bonaventure on Wednesday night in one of the ugliest games A.J. Palumbo Center has witnessed in some time.

A close game was expected, but such a low final score was not. However, some pregame activities did provide what could be perceived as an interesting case of foreshadowing.

As warm-ups came to a close, the Dukes started hoisting up trick shots and long 3-pointers, most of which were misses.

While inaccurate practice shots before the game are generally not a reliable indicator of how a team will perform, this was an exception.

Duquesne proceeded to shoot 34.5 percent from the field, 22.7 percent on 3-pointers and missed 10 of 16 attempted free throws.

St. Bonaventure was not immune to such poor offensive performance, either. In fact, it was even worse overall. The Bonnies went 28.6 percent on field goals and 11.8 percent from behind the arc. They failed to make a 3-pointer in the second half.

This collectively poor shooting resulted in the lowest scoring game Duquesne has played in this season. The Dukes also posted their lowest point total of the season.

The game’s high scorer was Kyle Lofton of the Bonnies with 16 points. Frankie Hughes, despite going 1-9 on 3-pointers and 5-18 overall, led the Dukes with 11 points.

Sincere Carry and Eric Williams Jr. chipped in 10 and nine points, respectively.

Duquesne has struggled on the boards all year, and that trend continued against the visitors from Olean. The Dukes were out-rebounded 54-42.

The limited depth of Duquesne didn’t help matters. Carry continued to deal with knee soreness, Tavian Dunn-Martin was hampered by an ankle sprain that he suffered against Dayton and Lamar Norman Jr. was out with a concussion.

As a result of health issues and fatigue, Kellon Taylor, who had planned to forfeit his role on the basketball team in order to focus on his football career, made a brief two-minute appearance on the court.

Coach Keith Dambrot also cited “very poor energy” as a reason for offensive struggles, saying, “We tried. We just didn’t play very well together.”

Nevertheless, his team found itself in multiple positions to win late. In the final moments of the game, Marcus Weathers’ shot rolled off the rim and missed narrowly, Carry had a layup blocked and Frankie Hughes missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Despite nearly pulling out the victory, Dambrot pointed out that, “When you hold somebody to 20-70 [field goal percentage] and 2-17 [3-point percentage], you should probably win.”

It was a hard loss to swallow, but the Dukes will have to recover quickly as they now enter a stretch of crucial conference games. Duquesne will travel to New York Feb. 9 to face Fordham, then head to Philadelphia to play La Salle on Feb. 13 before returning to Pittsburgh Feb. 16 as George Washington comes to town.

It is a winnable slate of games, but as Duquesne has shown thus far, no conference matchup is easy. The Dukes are yet to play in an A-10 game with a point differential greater than six.

Whatever the final margin may be in the coming games, Dambrot and the Dukes will simply be looking to find a win and break this two-game skid, their first back-to-back conference losses of the season.