Dukes Outrun Rams, 111-100
March 5, 2010
PITTSBURGH - Melquan Bolding scored a career high 32 points and Eric Evans posted his first career double-double with 23 points and 10 assists - both career highs - as Duquesne (16-14, 7-9) concluded the regular season with a 111-100 home win over Fordham (2-26, 0-16) on Friday afternoon.
The Dukes, who began the day in a tie for ninth in the Atlantic 10 with George Washington, will have to wait until the conclusion of tomorrow's conference games to find out their opponent and site of their Tuesday first round Atlantic 10 Championship game.
Brenton Butler had 29 points and seven assists in his final game for Fordham. Alberto Estwick added 20 points - including six 3-pointers - and freshman Chris Gaston posted his 19th double-double with 21 points and 18 rebounds for the Rams, who dropped their 21st consecutive game.
"They came in here and played like they had nothing to lose," said Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart. "I was worried because they were shooting it so well. We slowed them down with a zone, got some steals, and changed the game."
Duquesne, which missed its first 11 shots, led 34-25 with 8:46 to go in the first half before Fordham went on a 9-0 run to tie it on a Lance Brown dunk. The Rams went up two on an Estwick 3-pointer at the 1:48 mark, before the Dukes rallied to take a 52-51 lead at the half. Butler had 18 for Fordham and Bolding 16 for Duquesne in the opening 20 minutes.
Fordham, which finished 11-of-24 from the arc, hit three 3-pointers in the first 4:50 of the second half to take a 69-64 lead, before Evans, who scored 19 in the second half, answered with a 3-pointer followed by a Damian Saunders dunk to tie it at 69-69. Neither team led by more than three until Saunders scored six straight points to put the Dukes up 86-80 with 7:48 left.
Fordham, which was trying to avoid being the first A-10 team to go winless in conference play since St. Bonaventure went 0-14 in 1992-93, cut it to three on a Gaston jumper with 2:06 to go, before Saunders hit a jumper and added a free throw to give the Dukes a 102-96 lead. DU hit 5-of-5 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Duquesne shot 64.5 percent in the second half in outscoring the Rams by 10. DU hit a season-high 13 3-pointers - includinge four by Evans - in scoring the most points by an Atlantic 10 team this season.
It was Fordham's first 100-point game since December of 1999 and Duquesne's highest total since back-to-back 111-point games at St. Bonaventure and at La Salle in the first week of February 2007.
Opponents and sites for the 2010 Atlantic 10 Championship will be determined after the conclusion of the Saint Louis at Dayton game which tips on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. The Atlantic 10 web site (www.Atlantic10.com) will post the tournament bracket as soon as it is finalized.
Melquan Bolding had 27 points, Eric Evans 21 and Bill Clark 20 making it the first time in 13 years that Duquesne had three 20-point scorers in the same game ... Mike James, Tom Pipkins and Kevin Price had 20 each in an 88-77 win over La Salle on Feb. 13, 1997.
Bolding's previous career high was 26 against George Washington last season ... Evans' previous career best was 20 at IUPUI earlier this season ... Evans is the 14th player in school history to post a 10-assist game ... his 117 assists are the third most ever posted by a Duquesne sophomore.
Bill Clark's double-double (20-10) was his third of the season and sixth of his career.
Duquesne is 9-1 in afternoon games with the lone loss coming in overtime at Dayton.