Sloppy play costs Dukes a shot at a signature win

Bry McDermott | Asst. Photo Editor Freshman point guard Mike Lewis II drives to the hoop against Dayton at PPG Paints Arena.

Bry McDermott | Asst. Photo Editor
Freshman point guard Mike Lewis II drives to the hoop against Dayton at PPG Paints Arena.

By David Borne | Staff Writer

Saturday morning games can be tough. They can be even tougher when going up against the preseason favorite to win the Atlantic 10. The Duquesne Dukes learned exactly what the Dayton Flyers can bring to the court on Saturday, and surrendered a 76-57 loss.

As with most of their games this season, turnovers plagued the Dukes on Saturday. The team managed to turn the ball over 14 times in the first half alone. The giveaways allowed Dayton, led by Xeyrius Williams and Charles Cooke, to head into halftime with a commanding 39-26 lead.  

The turnover issues didn’t subside in the second half either as Duquesne finished the game turning the ball over a season-high 22 times. Graduate transfer Emile Blackman was frustrated by his team’s lack of discipline with the ball.

“Obviously the games that we take care of the ball and the games we have 13 turnovers or less, our record is significantly better than when we have more,” Blackman said. “I think we had 22 turnovers tonight, that’s unacceptable. We know what we have to do, it’s just something we have to work on in practice. We work on it a lot, but today we got away from the game plan and it showed.”

Duquesne came out of the locker room hot in the second half, and opened the period with a 9-2 run that narrowed Dayton’s lead to 41-35 with 16:29 remaining. With freshman Mike Lewis II and Emile Blackman leading the way for Duquesne’s offense, the Dukes managed to hang not too far behind on the scoreboard and the team was down 56-45 with 8:27 left on the clock.

Lewis II’s performance was one of the few bright spots for the Dukes on Saturday. He led the team with 17 points and added four assists to go along with four rebounds. Blackman had the team’s second highest scoring total, finishing with 14.

Unfortunately for the Dukes, the wheels started to fall off in the game’s final minutes. The Dukes were unable to slow down Dayton’s offense, and the Flyers found themselves with a 15-point lead with just 3:48 remaining in the contest. Things only got worse for the young Duquesne team, and the scoreboard flashed 76-57 at the sound of the final buzzer.

The Dukes had an abysmal shooting day from beyond the arc, going just 3-21 from distance. In the three games they have played at PPG Paints Arena this season, Duquesne has shot a combined 16-64 from downtown.

Duquesne dropped to 9-10 on the season, with a 2-4 record in conference play with the loss. The Dukes must now shake off the blowout and shift their focus to their upcoming game at George Washington on Wednesday. The Colonials currently hold a 9-8 overall record, but are just 1-3 against Atlantic 10 opponents.

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