Men’s hoops takes care of business against St. Louis, win first conference matchup

Joseph Guzy | Photo Editor - Junior forward Darius Lewis drives into an opponent during the Dukes' win over the St. Louis Billikens.
Joseph Guzy | Photo Editor - Junior forward Darius Lewis drives into an opponent during the Dukes' win over the St. Louis Billikens.
Joseph Guzy | Photo Editor – Junior forward Darius Lewis drives into an opponent during the Dukes’ win over the St. Louis Billikens.

By Andrew Holman | The Duquesne Duke

The Duquesne men’s basketball team outplayed the Saint Louis Billikens in a high scoring bout at the A.J. Palumbo Center, winning by a score of 81-71 Wednesday night.

The night started with a turnover form Derrick Colter, but the Dukes quickly went on a 15-0 run, allowing fans to forget all about it to start the game and force the Billikens into comeback mode early. This win was the first conference victory of the season for Duquesne and advanced them to an 11-6 record overall and 1-3 within the Atlantic 10.

“I thought we played a lot harder, and like [Darius Lewis] said, we knew we had to bounce back,” senior Micah Mason said. “We started out [in] the conference 0-3 and it was just a different mindset. We’ve been guarding well this year.”

The Dukes’ offense struggled from the field at times, but the Red & Blue came prepared to defend and that was apparent in the box score. The Billikens were held to just 11 percent shooting in the first half and 33 percent for the game.

Derrick Colter led the Dukes with 17 points and four assists. Darius Lewis also contributed adding 10 points, five boards and seven blocks, tying his career high.

“Knowing that I went for a career high in blocks last time we played them, I kinda came in here with confidence,” said Lewis. “And also you know trying to bounce back from the loss we had last game, I wanted to make sure I brought the defensive intensity today.”

Sophomore Tysean Powell was a big factor on the offensive glass and his two put-back dunks on consecutive possessions helped the Dukes extend their lead to 27-7 with just over five minutes to go in the first half.

After Micah Mason’s 3-pointer in the final 40 seconds of the opening half, the Dukes took a 38-13 lead into the locker room.

A key factor throughout the game was Duquesne’s ability to dominate the paint where they outscored their opponents 34-14.

“When they’re going to try to deny things and pressure you’ve gotta play towards the basket and I thought our guys did a good job of that,” said Ferry. “We got touches inside. We offensive rebounded and we drove the ball pretty hard and pretty aggressively today.”

Saint Louis started the second half on a 5-0 run, but that was quickly put to a halt as Derrick Colter hit a three from the corner and was fouled, converting on a 4-point play.

Powell provided this lopsided game’s most thrilling moments electrifying the Palumbo crowd with each of his powerful slams. Powell finished with 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

“When he plays with energy, we are good,” said Ferry. “He gives us another tailback, he gives us that length and I thought he did a very good job of it. He was another kid that really responded today and that makes us better.”

Saint Louis was able to reduce the gap from 33 to 10 in the second half, but that was after Duquesne was well in control of the game and Coach Ferry chose to rest his starters.

“We didn’t finish the way we wanted to, but you know, I was playing those guys [the reserves],” said Ferry. “It allowed these other guys like the Castro’s and Steele and those guys to play minutes so that we could start seeing, you know, who could step up and try to replace what we are losing with Jeremiah.”

The Dukes will look to start a win streak as they take on St. Bonaventure on Saturday at the A.J. Palumbo Center at 6:00 p.m.