PITTSBURGH — The Duquesne Dukes (6-19, 1-12 A10) fell to the league-leading Davidson Wildcats (22-4, 12-2 A10) Wednesday evening, 74-50, at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse. The last time these two teams met, the Dukes gave the Wildcats a run for their money, cutting a 17-point second half deficit to just six points before eventually falling 72-61 at Belk Arena.
Wednesday, it was the opposite. Same result, but opposite motion for Duquesne. While they kept it close initially, taking a three-point 36-33 deficit into halftime, the Dukes fell apart in the second half. It didn’t help that sophomore Tre Williams went down with a knee injury with just over a minute remaining in the first half. If there was one thing that took the wind out of Duquesne’s sails, it was that. While Williams only played 10:43 of that half, he was on pace for 20 points and 8 rebounds. That sport of impact is hard to replace.
Davidson outscored Duquesne 38-17 in the second half. The Wildcats even started out on a 14-4 run to open it. Junior guard Hyunjung Lee put up 18 points in the second half to add to his 9 from the first. Sam Mennenga and Luka Brajkovic each had 12 to join him in double digit points. Brajkovic even grabbed 8 rebounds.
Mounir Hima grabbed 10 rebounds for the Dukes in his first start of the season. When asked about starting Hima for the first time, head coach Keith Dambrot kept it simple: “Why not?”
“He was on the scout team at the beginning of the year. We threw him into the fire. We’re not very good now, so he’s getting experience where he can help us next year.”
Dambrot also stressed where he thought the rebuilding of the program is at.
“I went into the season thinking we could reboot it in one year,” said Dambrot after the game. “At some point you realize you’re not going to be good. So you might as well take a two year reorganization plan rather than a one year plan.”
The one positive that Dambrot was able to take away from the loss? Assists. The Duquesne dished out 10 of them in the first half and four in the second.
“That’s usually more than we have in a whole game. We tried hard defensively. We made mistakes, but we tried hard. I think that kept us in the game.”
But there’s only so much that a team can do, losing a player like Tre Williams, most likely for the season, and enduring a Davidson team that shot 52% from the field.
MAJOR FOCUS: DUQUESNE STIFLED BY DAVIDSON, 74-50