Spencer Thomas | Sports Editor
Duquesne survived a leaky first half to come away with an 85-63 win over Stony Brook on Monday night.
The Dukes were led by a trio of guards, all of whom finished with double figures. Jimmy Clark III scored a game-high 24 points, while Dae Dae Grant (19) and Kareem Rozier (11), weren’t far behind. Rozier also registered seven of Duquesne’s 14 assists.
Duquesne started to break away late in the first half, thanks to a scoring outburst from Clark and Grant. Their 9-point halftime lead quickly grew when the teams came back from the locker rooms. Rozier and Grant hit back-to-back 3-pointers that sprung the Dukes lead to double digits, and another hot streak from Clark put the game out of reach.
“We got shooters everywhere,” Rozier said. “We’ve got these two wild stallions (Grant and Clark) that shoot the ball extremely well.”
Early on, neither team could control the boards. Rebounds were being won in scraps outside the paint, resulting in three jump balls in the first seven minutes. Head Coach Keith Dambrot lamented the sloppy start but was impressed with how his squad responded.
“The one thing about these guys is they’re going to keep coming back for more,” he said.
Eventually, the difference could be seen in their shooting. Duquesne finished 32-of-64 from the field, while the Seawolves wound up 22-of-66 and were much more reliant on the 3-point shot.
Prior to the win, Duquesne began the day began with bad news. They announced that forward Tre Williams will miss several weeks after he dislocated the thumb on his non-shooting hand.
As a result, Dambrot continued to tweak his combinations in the frontcourt. Once again, Andrei Savrasov and Halil Barre got the starting nod. They were joined by Jakub Necas, David Dixon and Fousseyni Drame in the rotation.
“There’s an opportunity there for each one of those bigs. We can rotate them into different spots,” said Associate Head Coach Dru Joyce III. “They have to step up.”
“I think the Tre Williams thing hurts us short term, and helps us long term,” Dambrot said. “Because it forces us to play those young guys which will develop them, which could be a big, big deal for us.”
Dambrot was also keen to play a three-guard lineup with a pair of bigs supplementing that dynamic. Freshman Kailon Nicholls made his Duquesne debut in the second half.
Drame wound up sneaking into the top end of the scoresheet, picking up 15 points and 11 assists for his eighth-career double-double. He did this despite coming off the bench, as he has all year.
“He’s playing himself into a high-level player, rather than a role player,” Dambrot said. “He’s playing like one of the best players in the league.”
Duquesne has opened the season with three consecutive victories for the first time since 2019, when they started the season 10-0.
“I definitely see the team gelling,” Clark said. “It’s only going to get better from here.”
Duquesne returns to action on Wednesday night, when they host the Princeton Tigers, who are fresh off a Sweet-16 appearance in March.
“This is over with,” Rozier said after the win. “Now it’s about getting ready for Wednesday.”