In one of the most entertaining games played at the A.J. Palumbo Center since its inception, the Duquesne Dukes (13-5, 4-1 A-10) downed the La Salle Explorers (7-11, 1-4 A-10), 101-94 in triple overtime Saturday.
They have had some close calls over the past few games, but this one showed the true resolve of the Dukes as their backs were against the wall in a big way.
Duquesne had problems all day defending Explorers guard Pookie Powell, who went for 25 points, six assists and four rebounds.
However, the stars shined brightest for Duquesne sophomore guard Mike Lewis II as he poured in 25 points, including burying two pivotal 3-point attempts in the third overtime when the Dukes were without Tarin Smith, Eric Williams Jr and Rene Castro-Caneddy who were all fouled out.
For his part, Williams Jr had a tremendous game, recording his seventh double-double of the season with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Smith, a junior guard and slasher going to the rim, also chipped in with 21 points, five assists and three rebounds.
Down 81-77 in overtime, Duquesne surmounted an incredible comeback. After a pair of free throws from Smith, Castro-Caneddy forced a turnover on the ensuing inbound. Castro-Caneddy missed the shot, but sophomore Kellen Taylor cleaned up the boards with a put-back to send the game into double overtime.
The only knock on the Dukes today was their horrendous free throw shooting, going 29-45 from the line. Coach Keith Dambrot will clean this up going forward I’m sure.
The Dukes improved their record to 13-5 overall and 4-1 in Atlantic 10 conference play. They will travel to Saint Louis Wednesday for an 8 p.m. tip with the Billikens.
1. Senior forward Eric James, who hasn’t seen many minutes this season, came through for the Dukes with seven rebounds. James is a selfless player who deserves all the good that happens with him.
2. Tonight showed a better turnout from the Duquesne student section. This needs to continue to rise as the Dukes look to continue their hot conference start.
3. The Dukes are making believers out of many. Most fans of the conference counted them out before the season as evidenced by their preseason last-place finish picked by the coaches. They are playing with a gigantic chip on their shoulders.
As always, here’s a video recap with some thoughts on today’s affair.