Duquesne Digs Deeper than Charlotte, 88-77
Feb. 29, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Duquesne wanted to run Wednesday night, while Charlotte wanted to slow the tempo down.
Speed won out.
The Dukes pushed the ball up the court and repeatedly burned the 49ers with easy transition baskets to come away with an 88-77 victory, spoiling Charlotte's regular season home finale at Halton Arena.
Duquesne's outscored Charlotte 28-0 on fast break opportunities and that was the difference in the game.
B.J Monteiro led the way for Duquesne (16-13, 7-8 Atlantic 10 Conference), scoring 15 of his 21 points in the second half. He was one of five Dukes in double digits in scoring. Eric Evans added 17 points while T.J. McConnell and Sean Johnson had 14 apiece, and Jerry Jones scored 13 off the bench.
The victory allowed Duquesne to snap a three-game losing streak.
"We needed a win bad," Monteiro said. "It's tough losing to anybody but a few of those games slipped away from us. We know what it what takes to play in the A-10 tournament but we need the confidence going in -- and this helps."
The Dukes had lost to Temple, Dayton and George Washington entering the game, averaging just 57.3 points per game during that span.
But they found their rhythm early.
They shot 59.3 percent from the field and their 88 points were the most allowed by the 49ers all season.
"We are a running team," Evans said. "We're not the biggest team. We want to get the ball out in transition and push it. We got a lot of people on our bench and that helps us out a lot. We shared the ball well and made shots tonight."
Duquesne's turnovers and ensuing transition baskets forced the 49ers to play at a tempo Charlotte coach Alan Major didn't particularly care for.
"As the pace picked up we got a little caught up in it," Major said. "Tonight it was a case of a lost identity. Our identity is through our defense and that's who we are. We weren't who we are. We have to be a defensive-minded team. We lost our identity."
Duquesne might have found theirs.
It was one of their best games defensively, forcing 20 turnovers and recording 11 steals, many of which led to easy layups on the other end.
McConnell had five of those steals and Monteiro added four.
"I thought our defensive intensity was as good as it's been all year," said Duquesne coach Ron Everhart. "We were able to steal the ball, create turnovers and get in the open floor. This year if we don't do that we're a very average team at best. It's amazing to me how mental this game is because just the energy level was so high. When you make a few shots it's amazing just how good your defense suddenly becomes."
The Dukes also shot well from behind the arc, hitting 8 of 22. The scoring came from all over as five different players hit threes.
That's been one of the reasons for their turnaround this season offensively.
"It actually would have been a compliment last year if you said our 3-point shooting was horrible," Everhart said.
Duquesne wraps up the regular season on Saturday when they host St. Louis, while Charlotte visits Xavier.
"I'm hoping this will give us a shot in the arm going into the A-10 tournament," Everhart said.
DeMario Mayfield had 19 points and Chris Braswell had 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead Charlotte (13-15, 5-10), which has lost 10 of its last 14 games.
Jamar Briscoe chipped in with 15 points for the 49ers.
Most of Braswell's damage came in the first half, but the Dukes changed up their defense by fronting the post and giving backside help on the 49ers' big man. That resulted in more 3-point attempts for the 49ers -- and they made 6 of 10 in the second half -- but it was a gamble Everhart was willing to take to slow down Braswell.
Braswell seemed to get frustrated at times, finishing with seven turnovers.
Still, he finished with his seventh double-double of the season and the 22nd of his career.
Duquesne trailed 8-2 early in the game, but went on an 11-0 run and never trailed after that. The Dukes shot 55.2 percent from the floor in the first half to take a 42-36 lead into the break. Charlotte was lucky it wasn't down by more after allowing the Dukes to go on a 19-3 run in the first half while missing 10 straight shots from the field.
Duquesne, with one game remaining, can finish no worse than ninth in the Atlantic 10 ... the Dukes still have a shot at securing a first round home game in the Atlantic 10 Championship ... the simplest scenario would be wins by Duquesne (7-8), Dayton (8-7) and La Salle (8-7) combined with a loss by UMass (8-7) ... an 8-8 Duquesne would win a head-to-head tiebreaker with an 8-8 UMass by virtue of its regular season win over the Minutemen.
The win, which was Duquesne's fourth-straight win over Charlotte, clinched a non-losing season for the fifth-straight year ... the last time DU had five consecutive non-losing seasons was from 1968 through 1975 (eight in a row).
Head coach Ron Everhart is now 99-87 at Duquesne ... he needs one win to join Chick Davies (314-106), Red Manning (247-138) & Dudey Moore (191-70) in the Duquesne 100-win club.
With his 6 assists T.J. McConnell broke Clayton Adams' single-season record for assists by a sophomore (159 in 1988-89) ... McConnell's 164 assists rank fourth on DU's all-time single-season list (the record of 194 was set by Aaron Jackson in 2008-09) ... McConnell posted his fifth five-steal game this season ... his 84 steals are the third-most in school single-season history behind the school record 91 he set last season and the 89 posted by Damian Saunders in 2009-10.
Eric Evans, who had 17 points and 5 assists, became just the 10th player in school history to post 1,000 points (1,028) and 300 assists (304) ... Evans currently ranks 34th on the all-time scoring list ... the 17 points were his most since he scored 17 vs. Richmond on Feb. 4.
Duquesne is 11-1 when four or more players score in double figures.