Dukes Hold off Hawks, 74-71

Jan. 31, 2010

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PITTSBURGH - Melquan Bolding scored 24 points and Damian Saunders had 15 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks as Duquesne held on for a 74-71 home win over Saint Joseph's.

The Dukes (11-10, 2-5) won despite missing four of 10 free throws over the final 3:13. Saint Joseph's (8-13, 2-5) which was led by Justin Crosgile and Darrin Govens with 17 points each, dropped to 1-8 on the road.

Saint Joseph's Idris Hilliard, who finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds, tied the game for the first time since the 6:10 mark of the first half on an acrobatic tip in with 1:54 left. Saunders answered with a layup, then blocked a shot by Carl Jones, tipped it ahead and finished with his fourth dunk of the game to put the Dukes up 70-66 with just under a minute left.

Hilliard cut it to two before Eric Evans hit a pair of free throws with 23 seconds to go. Govens made it a one-point game with a deep 3-pointer five seconds later.

Bill Clark hit one of two free throws before SJU's Bryant Irwin was called for a travel with 7.6 seconds left.

Evans was fouled on the inbound pass and hit one of two to make it a three-point game. Jones' desperation 3-pointer from the right corner was off the mark and Evans rebounded the miss as time expired.

"I'm proud of the effort we gave after not competing in our previous game," said Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart referring to Thursday's 86-50 loss at Xavier. "Damian and Mel really gave us a great effort today."

Duquesne hit one of its first nine 3-point attempts in falling behind 22-15 before Bolding ignited a 12-0 run with a 3-pointer followed by a pair of free throws. The sophomore swingman added another 3-pointer and Saunders finished the run with a layup to give the Dukes a 27-22 lead with under 5:00 left in the half.

Bolding had 17 at the break as the Dukes took a 39-31 lead into the locker room.

Saint Joseph's scored the first five points of the second half to pull within three, before Evans, who scored all of his 12 points in the second half, stopped the run with a layup.

Duquesne managed a six point lead three times before Hilliard's tip in tied it with just under two minutes to go. The Dukes were unable to pull away in large part due to their 11-of-21 performance from the free throw line in the second half (14-of-25 for the game).

DU shot 52.8 percent from the field despite going 4-of-19 from the 3-point arc. The field goal percentage and 18 assists (on 28 field goals) were the most by the Dukes since an 86-56 win over Saint Francis, Pa. on Dec. 22.

Duquesne limited Saint Joseph's to 37.9 percent from the field (5-of-21 from the 3-point arc). SJU outscored Duquesne 25-10 off turnovers and 20-12 in second chance points.

Duquesne hits the road for back-to-back road games beginning with a trip to Philadelphia to face Atlantic 10 co-leader No. 15 (AP) Temple (18-4, 6-1) on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 7:00. The Dukes will then head to Washington, D.C. to take on George Washington on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 2:00 p.m..


Damian Saunders, who entered the game ranked third nationally with 15 double-doubles, finished with 15 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks ... his 16 double-doubles this season are the most by a Duquesne player since Bruce Atkins had 16 in 1981-82.

• It was the fifth career 20-point game for Bolding who missed 13 games earlier this season with a fractured wrist ... Bolding scored 25 in the season-opening win over Nicholls State despite playing the majority of that game with the fracture the occurred four minutes into the game.

• Duquesne, which dropped 16 of 17 games with Saint Joseph's from 1994 through 2007, has now won two of the past three against the Hawks ... DU, which trails the overall series 34-11 is 2-2 vs. Saint Joseph's under Ron Everhart.




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