Duquesne Defense Stifles Fordham, 68-59

Aidan Weiss | staff writer

The Duquesne Dukes took down the Fordham Rams 68-59 in a Saturday matinee at Cooper Fieldhouse. Walk-on freshman Jake Dimichele led the way with 15 points for the Dukes, while David Dixon and Jimmy Clark III chipped in 12 apiece. Elijah Gray put up 19 for the Rams in the loss. 

Head Coach Keith Dambrot was pleased with his team’s effort as of late after the game. “We finally figured out our formula to win,” he said. “It’s going to be mud wrestling. Play good defense every night, and we’re going to have a chance.” This was the Dukes’ second straight game holding their opponents under 60 points, and it has been the key as they pull themselves out of the Atlantic-10’s basement.  

Fordham started the game off hot with an alley-oop in the first five seconds and roared out to a 6-0 lead at the first media timeout. However, the Dukes foughtback, knotting it up at six before a back-and-forth battle occurred with no team jumping out to a sizeable advantage. Notably, guard Dae Dae Grant came off the bench after missing the previous three games in concussion protocol. Fordham led at halftime, 28-27. 

The second half started off with some fireworks. After a Duquesne loose ball foul, a pile up ensued with pushing and shoving. After review, Fordham’s Kyle Rose was assessed a technical foul, and the game continued without further incident.  

After starting out the second half hot, the Dukes found themselves down 47-44 with seven minutes remaining. However, they went on a 12-2 run, punctuated by a Fousseyni Drame slam dunk off a nifty Jimmy Clark III pass that brought the fans to their feet. From there, Duquesne kept Fordham at arm’s length and pulled out their second victory in A-10 play. 

With the schedule opening up after a brutal start, the Dukes appear primed to rise in the Atlantic-10 standings and secure a better seed for the conference tournament. “We played the hardest non-conference schedule in the league, and before this game tonight, we played the hardest conference schedule in the league,” said Dambrot. “There were very few games where we weren’t in the game.” 

Meanwhile, it was another outstanding day for Jake Dimichele. He’s become a key rotational player for Duquesne, as he led the team with 15 points today and also tacked on three rebounds, an assist, and a steal. However, he is still hungry to improve and enjoy his time on the court. 

“Being out there on the court is fun. I just try to wake up and thank God and try to soak in every moment,” he said.  

After being elevated to the starting lineup due to injuries, he is making it difficult for Dambrot to take him out of that role, even with the return of Dae Dae Grant, who came off the bench in limited minutes as he works his way back to full strength. 

The Dukes’ next game is a rare January non-conference affair against Chicago State at home Wednesday night.