PITTSBURGH — The Duquesne Dukes, hoping to finish The Atlantic 10 season with a 0.500 record for just the second time since 2010, did so in dominant fashion by defeating the Rhode Island Rams 86-75 Saturday at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse.
The win gave Duquesne a 7-7 regular season finish in the Atlantic 10, and an 8-8 record overall. It was Keith Dambrot’s third non-losing season in three seasons with Duquesne.
The Dukes defeated Rhode Island earlier this season, a last-second 71-69 victory over the Rams on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 at their temporary La Roche University home. Saturday’s edition wasn’t as close by any means.
The first half was exactly what the Dukes needed after a disastrous 20-point loss to La Salle on Wednesday. Duquesne shot 4-for-16 from beyond the three-point arc in the 85-65 loss. During the first half of Saturday’s contest, the Dukes hit 8 of 11 from that range and finished the game 9-for-17. The Rams were the ones with the woes; they only hit two out of 12 in the first half and three out of 17 overall from beyond the arc.
After Rhode Island started the game with a 2-0 lead, Duquesne came fast out of the gate and built a 21-12 lead at the under-12 media timeout in the first half. For a moment, it looked as if Duquesne had a solid grasp on Rhode Island, but the Rams trimmed that lead to as little as six points with just under four minutes remaining in the first half. The Dukes extended the lead to as many as 11 with 1:14 to play before the Rams trimmed it again to head into the locker rooms down six, 42-36.
Rhode Island came out in the second half just as flat as the first half. The Rams attempted five shots from beyond the three-point arc and hit just one of those. Duquesne hit only one out of six, but the Dukes had already built the lead they needed in the first half. Duquesne finished the contest shooting 53 percent from beyond the arc and 53 percent overall, compared to Rhode Island’s 18 percent three-point percentage and 42 percent overall shooting.
Duquesne has already secured a first-round bye in the upcoming Atlantic 10 Tournament. As of this writing, the Dukes are scheduled to face the Dayton Flyers as the ninth seed in the second round on Thursday, Mar. 4, 2021 in Richmond, Virginia at either the Robins Center, home of the Richmond Spiders, or the Siegel Center, home of the VCU Rams.
MAJOR FOCUS: DUKES USE THREE-POINT SHOOTING TO DOWN RAMS