By Natalie Fiorilli | The Duquesne Duke
In their first game of the season, the men’s basketball nearly broke 100 points against Seton Hill Friday night at the A.J. Palumbo Center before locking down their first win of the season by a final score of 96-71, showing off their offensive prowess.
Three players led the way with 15 points each: junior center Darius Lewis, senior guard Derrick Colter and senior guard Micah Mason. Sophomore forward Eric James knocked down 14 total off the bench, in only 13 minutes of playing time.
Lewis’ 15 points were a career best. He also recorded 11 rebounds, shot 75 percent from the field and went 3-5 from the free throw line.
“I think going into tonight’s game, my confidence is pretty high,” Lewis said. “I’ve been contributing, kind of getting a little bit of rhythm, so going into the next game I can try to keep letting the game come to me, instead of trying to force it.”
The Dukes had an explosive start to the game, going on a 20-4 run until the Griffins were able to score their sixth point, breaking their drought in the 10th minute of the first half. The Red & Blue had the advantage the entire first half, with the only tie occurring in the first minute of the game.
By halftime, Duquesne had only allowed 28 points, holding the Griffins to 11-35 from the field and 4-16 from the 3-point line. The Dukes were up 45-28 by the buzzer at the end of the first 20.
Mason attributed the team’s offensive rhythm and chemistry to experience.
“I think it’s great this year, a lot better than past years,” Mason said. “Having experience and playing with guys the last three years, we know each other, and we’re just going to continue to do that.”
Seton Hill came out in the second half with significant improvements offensively, finding 27 points from behind the arc alone. While Duquesne lacked aggression on the defensive end, they managed to hold off the Griffins by scoring another 51 points, maintaining at least a 15 point lead throughout the remainder of the competition. James found 10 of his 14 total points in the second half.
Coach Jim Ferry felt that the team didn’t perform as well defensively in the second half, as they had in the first half.
“In the second half we got a little lax defensively and got away from what we were doing,” Ferry said. “They (Seton Hill) did a good job of spreading us out and hitting some three’s.”
Ferry said that while his team will need to improve defensively this season, they will be strong offensively.
“Scoring is not going to be an issue for us,” Ferry said. “As long as we share the basketball. It’s going to come down to defending. We have to do it, and we have to do it for a sustained amount of time.”
After competing against a Division II team in Seton Hill, they will turn to their first Division I competition of the season at home against New Orleans on Monday at 7 p.m. Duquesne will then head down to CONSOL Energy Center Friday to play Penn State at 7 p.m.