The Keith Dambrot era officially kicked off on Saturday evening at the A.J. Palumbo Center. Led by a flurry of Dukes, Duquesne brought home a win for their new coach against St. Francis Brooklyn, 80-70.
DU came out sluggish in the first half with only eight scholarship players available. The depth problems are mostly in the frontcourt, as the dukes wait for grad student Chas Brown and junior college transfer Marko Krivacevic to recover from injuries.
The second half, however, saw the Dukes bounce back and play their new brand of basketball.
Going into the break tied at 32, Duquesne outscored the Terriers in the second half 48-38 thanks to strong performances by graduate senior Rene Castro-Caneddy, junior Tarin Smith and freshman Eric Williams Jr. Fellow freshman Tydus Verhoeven also showed poise on both sides of the ball.
Castro-Caneddy turned in the second 20-point game of his career — 22 points, going 8-15 from the field. One of Castro-Caneddy’s backcourt mates, Smith, also had a big game, going for 18 points, three rebounds and three assists.
Freshman Williams, who garnered a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds, was the big story for Duquesne tonight. The freshman lit it up late, scoring 15 points in the second half.
Despite a bomb scare and water outage on campus, the Dukes were able to come out with a win. Now the Dukes look to go 2-0 on Tuesday when they square off with Virginia Military Institute.
“So we had a water break, a bomb scare, I thought I don’t know, is my karma that bad right now?” Dambrot emphasized after his Duquesne debut. “Our guys played hard — it certainly wasn’t a thing of beauty. I don’t think it will be a thing of beauty, I really don’t, but overall, I liked our resiliency.”
Check back here tomorrow, I’ll have an in-depth column on the game.