Pittsburgh, PA — Duquesne forward Jordan Robinson was slow to get to the postgame handshake line, the disappointment evident even with his back turned to media row.
In a Wednesday night Atlantic 10 against a Richmond team that has bested the Dukes in each of the past six contests, Duquesne found ways to come back from several deficits, including a 16-point second-half disadvantage, yet could not finish the job, falling 77-73.
“We showed good grit and determination back in the game,” Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot said. “It’s hard to win when you continue to foul in overtime. I thought there were a lot of bang-bang plays that could have gone either way, and we really didn’t get any of them. That’s hard to overcome because we are trying to score the other way, so we have to do a better job at that.”
Richmond made some overtime adjustments on the defensive end and Duquesne was 1-for-6 from the field, while Richmond took 10 foul shots in the five-minute period.
This was Richmond’s second road win of the season and first outside of Virginia. Richmond coach Chris Mooney won his 250th career game and is just the second coach to accomplish the feat on the Spiders bench, joining John Beilein.
“We have a lot of young guys so the only way to learn is going through and experiencing it,”said Mooney. “We know there are probably going to be some hiccups, there have been and there probably still will be some more. We regrouped nicely and the guys were confident, loose and focused in the huddle.”
Richmond improved to 7-13 overall and 5-3 in Atlantic 10 play and for sophomore guard Nick Sherod, this win showed his team’s growth.
“Earlier in the season, we might have folded and lost trust in each other, but we really stayed together in that game,” he said. “We knew we had to stick together and that they were going to make their run. It showed a lot of grit in our team.”
Though Richmond’s record is not where the team would like it to be, conference season has allowed this young group to come together and find more consistent success.
“We saw tremendous progress in our team throughout the non-league schedule but the results weren’t there,” Mooney said. “Then, naturally, there is some doubt and on the outside there is more noise. When you can have positive results, it gives guys confidence but also gets more guys invested. We need to keep staying aggressive and go from there.”
This was Duquesne’s third contest against a team which runs a Princeton style of offense having lost at home to Cornell and winning a neutral-site game in Las Vegas against San Francisco.
It was clear that by the overtime period, Duquesne was feeling the effects of it, something that made the task of matching up, all the more challenging.
“We have better depth but didn’t use it,” said Dambrot. “It probably caught us a little.”
That technical foul
Richmond appeared to have this game in hand when redshirt freshman forward Grant Golden grabbed a rebound and dunked the ball to put Richmond up 16 with 13:41 remaining in regulation.
Immediately after, Golden shoved Duquesne’s Eric Williams Jr hard enough as he ran down the court, that two officials immediately whistled the play after calling a technical foul.
“It woke us up a little bit,” Tarin Smith said of the technical foul. “We were lacking a little energy and juice and that kind of woke the crowd up and woke us up.”
Though Smith followed by saying it should not take that play to wake Duquesne up, it certainly did the trick.
Duquesne fans booed Golden every time he shot the ball, even when he took free throws. The scene was similar to that of Pittsburgh Penguin fans jeer Jaromir Jagr each time he touches the puck.
“It’s not a good play and it’s something he needs to do a better job of,” said Mooney. “It’s not a cheap shot or anything like that, so hopefully we’ll learn from that and talk to him about that.”
This season Duquesne has shown that it will not be pushed around and this was another example of that. The teams met close to halfcourt and the entire Duquesne bench was ready to intervene if needed.
Additionally following the postgame handshakes, it appeared that Duquesne’s Michael Hughes and Richmond’s Julius Johnson shared a few words.
Ultimately, Duquesne allowed its play to do the talking and even lead by a point for 23 seconds when the comeback was completed and then again for 17 seconds inside of the final minute of regulation.
1. Mike Lewis II could not bury his open looks at was 3-for-17 from the field but two of his makes were key. The first came following a Williams Jr steal and Lewis with a hand in his face buried a three.
The second came with Richmond switching its defense in overtime and the shot clock set to expire. Lewis II took a long distance shot which went in and the crowd exploded in approval.
Lewis II still had 13 points and did remain engaged through the various points of this game.
2. Jordan Robinson was a great teammate in this game. He was all over the floor and his eight point, seven rebound effort in 24 minutes was extremely helpful with Tydus Verhoeven in foul trouble and Chas Brown playing 18 minutes. He was at the right place at the right time on several different occasions which helped as Duquesne was trying to get back into the game.
Duquesne women earn historic road win
For all of the things Duquesne has done as a women’s program, there still was a zero in the win column in road contests played against Saint Joseph’s.
Wednesday evening that changed.
Duquesne, which previously was 0-for-27 at Saint Joseph’s will make the five-hour bus ride back from Philadelphia 61-42 winners.
“This is a group that wants to set its own marks and have their own identity,” Duquesne coach Dan Burt said. “No team has done this, none of our great players from the past have won here. I think a victory like this tonight helps solidify them as one of the better teams we’ve had at Duquesne.”
In this game, Kadri-Ann Lass recorded four blocks, the third of which surpassed Tanya Larrydale for the most in program history. She has 179 blocks in this, her junior season.
“That’s an incredible achievement especially as a junior,” said Burt. “It just is a testament to her abilities, her talent and her coachability.”
Redshirt sophomore Paige Cannon recorded her third double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds while also adding five blocks, one of her career-high.
“Her contributions are invaluable, she was very good tonight and we don’t win the game tonight without her,” Burt said.
Julijana Vojinovic led all scorers with 16 points and matched a career-high with her 10 rebounds, good for her first double-double this season.
The 42 points Duquesne’s defense surrendered was a season-low, though Saint Joseph’s was without two of its starters in Alyssa Monaghan and Chelsea Woods which forced some in-game adjustments.
“We defended a team that is missing two of their starters, a big part of what they do,” said Burt. “We are fortunate that they didn’t play, but we would have liked to play them at full strength and see how we matched up but that’s basketball. We were happy with how we had to come out and execute a different game plan. We did not know that those two kids were going to be sitting out tonight and so our kids had to adapt very quickly in-game to defend in a different way.”
Duquesne is now 17-3 overall and 7-0 in Atlantic 10 play. It will return to the Palumbo Center Sunday afternoon for a 4 p.m tip against St. Bonaventure with this game being televised by NBCSN.
Atlantic 10 Standings
|Rhode Island||8 – 0||16 – 3|
|Davidson||5 – 2||10 – 8|
|Duquesne||5 – 3||14 – 7|
|VCU||5 – 3||13 – 8|
|Richmond||5 – 3||7 – 13|
|Dayton||4 – 4||10 – 10|
|Saint Joseph’s||4 – 4||9 – 10|
|St. Bonaventure||3 – 4||13 – 6|
|George Mason||3 – 4||9 – 11|
|Massachusetts||3 – 5||10 – 11|
|Saint Louis||3 – 5||10 – 11|
|La Salle||3 – 5||9 – 12|
|George Washington||2 – 5||9 – 11|
|Fordham||1 – 7||6 – 14|
Duquesne will travel to Rhode Island to face a ranked Rhode Island team that is 8-0 in conference play. Rhode Island is expecting a sellout for this game.
Rhode Island which was picked to win the Atlantic 10 in the preseason media day poll, has not lost since a 68-64 road setback Dec. 6 against Alabama.
Photo credit: Duquesne Athletics