Adam Lindner | Sports Editor
March 14, 2019
Months after being selected to finish eleventh in the 14-member Atlantic 10, the Duquesne men’s basketball team heads to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for the A-10 Championship seeded No. 7.
That’s thanks to a three-game improvement in the A-10, as well as the emergence of several key contributors. The Dukes went 10-8 this season following a 7-11 showing in 2017-18 — Coach Keith Dambrot’s first season on the Bluff.
Mike Lewis II led that ‘17-18 Duquesne team in scoring at 14.4 points per game, but has since departed for Nevada via a mid-season transfer this December.
Such has been life for Duquesne over the past few years, a team that’s seen enormous roster turnover since Dambrot’s hiring.
Eric Williams Jr. leads DU’s current outfit in scoring (13.7) and rebounding (7.5), but the sophomore swingman is hardly the Dukes’ savior.
While Williams may be the Dukes’ most talented player, the team now boasts a plethora of other options for opponents to worry about, too.
Freshman guard Sincere Carry, named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team on Tuesday, tops that list.
A late addition to Dambrot’s 2018 recruiting class, Carry quickly established himself as an integral part of the team with strong individual performances against William & Mary Nov. 10 and UIC Nov. 12.
Despite persistent knee issues, Carry went on to lead the Dukes in assists (5.8), steals (2.5) and minutes (33.4) per game.
When Carry was sidelined for multiple games following arthroscopic knee surgery, sophomore Tavian Dunn-Martin slotted in admirably as the team’s primary ball-handler.
Dunn-Martin posted 22 points at George Mason and 30 points versus UMass in Carry’s absence, and contributed steadily off the bench all season long.
The Akron transfer was rewarded in the form of the A-10’s Sixth Man of the Year award.
Dunn-Martin becomes the second Duke in as many years to win the award, as guard Tarin Smith won the title last year.
Alongside Williams, Carry and Dunn-Martin, Dambrot has assembled a well-rounded team boasting youth.
The Dukes don’t have an upperclassman on scholarship following Lewis’s mid-year transfer. Kellon Taylor, a junior walk-on who’s on a football scholarship, relinquished his role on the basketball team earlier this year to focus on football, but has since returned due to a lack of depth in the frontcount for DU.
The Dukes will open tournament play today at 6 p.m. versus the No. 10 Saint Joseph’s Hawks. Duquesne met Saint Joe’s once this year, escaping with a narrow 85-84 victory on Jan. 12.
Dambrot had six players score in double-figures versus the Hawks, which helped to neutralize SJU’s Charlie Brown. Brown posted 28 points against Duquesne on 11-of-18 shooting in a full 40 minutes of game action.
Mike Hughes (17 points, eight rebounds, three blocks) and Marcus Weathers (15 points, seven rebounds) led the Dukes’ team effort against Phil Martelli’s Saint Joe’s team.
The winner of the Duquesne-Saint Joe’s game will face No. 2 Davidson on Friday.