If one were to describe the last month for the Duquesne men’s basketball team as “rough,” it would probably be an understatement. The Dukes lost eight consecutive games, five of which by double digits, but Wednesday night saw a different result.
Freshmen standouts Mike Lewis II and Isiaha Mike both erupted on the Minutemen and led the struggling Duquesne team to a dominant 96-66 win over Massachusetts.
Lewis II led the Dukes in scoring, putting up a career 31 points. Lewis finished the night shooting 8-14 from the field, and 6-7 from downtown. Lewis started the evening shooting 0-6, but caught fire after his tough beginning and went perfect from the field to finish the night.
Averaging 13.8 ppg, Lewis II has quickly become Duquesne’s biggest scoring threat this season, and he refused to get by discouraged by his slow start.
“My teammates and coaching staff have a lot of faith in me,” Lewis said. “It doesn’t matter if I start off bad or start off good they always tell me to be aggressive and look to score. They want me to score to help win, so I didn’t think about. I didn’t even notice. Obviously it’s terrible, but I just kept my confidence, kept getting open shots and finally they started going in.”
Isiaha Mike added a nearly flawless shooting performance for Duquesne, ending the night with 23 points, going 9-12 from the field and a perfect 5-5 from beyond the arc. Mike was one point short of matching his career high (24). He also grabbed eight rebounds.
Lewis II and Mike have been the two bright spots on Duquesne’s disappointing 2016-17 campaign. Both have received A-10 Rookie of the Week honors three times this season, and have made a strong case to be considered for A-10 Rookie of the Year. In a program that has failed to finish with a record above .500 since 2011-12, perhaps the future may hold hope for the Dukes.
Duquesne will look to carry momentum over from Wednesday night’s victory to Sunday’s matchup against George Washington. GW won the first meeting between the two team’s on January 18th by a score of 65-63.