Men beat SLU, on to A-10 quarterfinal

Mary Genrich | Staff Photographer | Jimmy Clark III takes to the sky in the 19,000-seat Barclays Center, the home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. His 20-point performance led Duquesne into the conference quarterfinals.

Rebecca Jozwiak | Staff Writer

NEW YORK— The Duquesne Dukes advanced to the quarterfinals of the Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament on Wednesday night, defeating the Saint Louis Billikens 83-73.

Three players cracked double-digits: Jimmy Clark III, Dae Dae Grant and David Dixon. Clark led the pack with 20 points, and also nabbed a pair of steals.

“Jimmy is a Pittsburgh stealer,” joked Head Coach Keith Dambrot. “He steals the ball.”

Dusan Mahorcic helped pace the first half of the game by contributing 8 points in seven minutes. Jake DiMichele added 6 points in the first half, while Trey Williams caused a turnover. At halftime, the Dukes were up 43-39, which was too close for comfort for Dambrot.

“I was a little nervous at halftime because the score was so high,” he said. “Typically, that’s not good for us, and that’s what we kind of dealt with at halftime.”

The Dukes proved that the first half was no fluke. Clark exploded, scoring 15 of his 20 points in the second half. Duquesne jumped out to a 57-41 lead to start the second half. It took over three minutes for the Billikens to get on the board out of the break.

“As a team, I feel like that’s just what we do [disrupt opposing offenses],” Clark said. “That was our main focus.”

The Billikens were also without guard Sincere Parker, who averages 15.9 points per game. The Dukes capitalized off the absence of Parker, with Dixon scoring 13 points and Grant with 17.

When asked about working on their defense, Grant talked about the team’s support system.

“[We] just continue to stay gapped up, and continue to play team defense, and just be there for another,” Grant noted. “One brother for another.”

Matus Hronsky flew under the radar, hitting all three of his field goals and a 3-pointer shot. He finished the game with 7 points.

“[Hronsky] knows how to play. He’s a good teammate” Dambrot said. “If we can keep surviving in the tournament, he becomes even more important, and our bench becomes even more important.”

With the win over the Billikens, the Dukes advance to the quarter-finals where they will play the Dayton Flyers. This will be the third game this season between the Dukes and the Flyers, the Dukes lost both games by double digits.

The Dukes will have to contain A-10 Co-Player of the Year DaRon Holmes II, who scored 33 and 24 in the two games against Duquesne.

“I’m ready. That’s all I have to say,” Dixon said.

“Locked in,” Clark added.

“We’re excited, man. We’re ready for the challenge,” Grant said. “Nobody really wants to play us, to be honest with you.” Dambrot had a little more to say about tomorrow’s game against Dayton: “We’re going to try to compete and try to win,” Dambrot said. “But with that being said, we’ve got to go in there and try to do our job.”

The Dukes tip off against the Flyers tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in the Barclays Center on USA Network.