Dukes Halt Three-Game Skid With 70-64 Win Over St. Bonaventure
March 2, 2011
PITTSBURGH - Sean Johnson came off the bench to score a career high-tying 19 points - including a clutch 3-pointer with 53 seconds left - as Duquesne snapped a three-game losing streak with a 70-64 Senior Day win over St. Bonaventure at Palumbo Center.
B.J. Monteiro added 19 points and four assists and T.J. McConnell had 12 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and five steals for the Dukes (18-10, 10-5) who took sole possession of fourth place in the Atlantic 10 with the win.
Andrew Nicholson and Ogo Adegboye had 12 points each to lead St. Bonaventure (15-13, 7-8).
Duquesne can secure a first round bye at the A-10 Championship with a victory in the regular-season finale at Richmond or a Rhode Island (18-11, 9-6) loss at St. Bonaventure. Both games will be played on Saturday. DU could also secure a bye if it finishes in a three-way tie with Rhode Island and George Washington (16-13, 9-6). GW hosts Dayton on Saturday.
Duquesne, which led by nine on three occasions in the second half, saw its lead cut to one when Nicholson hit one of two free throws to make it 63-62 with 1:24 left.
On DU's next possession, Johnson - who had missed his first five 3-point attempts - buried a 3-pointer from just right of the top of the key with 53 seconds left. Nicholson missed a contested jump hook with 32 seconds left and Damian Saunders tipped the ball in the direction of McConnell who corralled the rebound. Following a timeout, with Duquesne inbounding from mid-court, McConnell got loose for a breakaway layup to put the Dukes up six.
Demitrius Conger scored with 10 seconds left before Johnson hit both ends of a one-and-one for the final margin.
"That was a nail-biter," said Duquesne coach Ron Everhart. "I was excited about the way our guys executed down the stretch. That was a big win for us because we struggled in our past three games."
Nicholson, who entered the game averaging 20.5 ppg., did not score until the 14:43 mark of the second half. Duquesne's leading scorer Bill Clark (16.6 ppg.), who was playing his final home game, was held to two points. His lone bucket gave the Dukes the lead for good at the 10:04 mark of the first half.
Fellow senior Saunders had seven points and seven rebounds in 37 minutes.
There were four ties and three lead changes early in a first half that saw both teams in the bonus from the 11:24 mark on. Duquesne, which forced 13 Bonnies turnovers in the opening 20 minutes, led 37-31 at the half. Nicholson, who picked up a pair of early offensive fouls, did not have a field goal attempt in five first-half minutes. Monteiro, who did not start in deference to senior David Theis, came off the bench to score 13 in the half.
McConnell figured directly in nine of Duquesne's 14 second-half field goals.
"I didn't realize the kind of game he had until I looked at the stat sheet," said Everhart. "He was all over the place. I mean, 12, eight, nine and five ... those are Oscar Robertson numbers."
Johnson, who scored his 19 points in 22 minutes, was 6-of-6 inside the arc and 1-of-6 outside.
"I had missed five in a row [from 3-point], but I had confidence in myself," said Johnson. "I knew I was going to hit that one."
St. Bonaventure, which shot 51.2 percent from the field and 85.7 percent from the foul line, couldn't overcome its 23 turnovers.
Duquesne, which continued to struggle from the 3-point arc - hitting just 4-of-22 attempts, outscored the Bonnies 26-12 off turnovers. DU assisted on 21 of 29 field goals.
Duquesne concludes the regular season on Saturday, March 5 at Richmond (23-7, 12-3). The game, set for a 12:05 p.m. tip, will be televised nationally by CBS College Sports.
Duquesne (10-5) has tied the school record for conference victories set in 1981 (10-3) and tied in 1991 (10-8).
This is just the second time in 30 years Duquesne has posted 18 or more wins in a season ... the other was 2008-09 (21-13).
With his five steals, T.J. McConnell upped his DU freshman record to 82 in 28 games (the old mark of 70 was set by Clayton Adams in 32 games in 1988) ... McConnell is five shy of breaking the Atlantic 10 freshman record of 86 set by Temple's Pepe Sanchez in 31 games in 1996-97 ... McConnell is also eight short of breaking the Duquesne school record of 89 set by Saunders in 32 games last season ... this was the 24th time in 28 games that McConnell has had two or more steals ... it was his fifth five-steal game of the season.
Damian Saunders, who added to his school record by playing in his 123rd game, started for the 112th time, breaking the school mark of 111 shared by Bruce Atkins and Dick Ricketts.
Saunders (1,458 points) now needs two points to pass Rick Suder (1,459 from 1983-86) to move into the No. 12 spot on DU's all-time scoring list.
Sean Johnson's 19 points tied his career high set earlier this season vs. Norfolk State.
B.J. Monteiro's four assists tied his season high.