Dukes Win Second Straight, Drop Sacred Heart, 74-63
Dec. 20, 2002
Duquesne opened the second half with a 15-5 run to break open a close game, then turned on the pressure defensively in defeating Sacred Heart 74-63 in the opening round of the San Juan Shootout at Caguas, Puerto Rico. The win pits the Dukes against Troy State in the second round tomorrow.
Guards Kevin Forney and Bryant McAllister - who made his first career start - led Duquesne with 16 points each, while Simplice Njoya added 15 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Mike Parker paced Sacred Heart with 19 points. Duquesne, behind 10 points from Njoya, held a 37-36 lead at the half as Sacred Heart, who entered the game shooting under 30 percent from the 3-point arc, made 5-of-8 3-pointers.
After Sacred Heart rallied to tie the game at 41-41, DU went on an 11-0 run sparked by the play of forward Ron Dokes who did not play in the first half due to a nagging bruised knee. Dokes, who played just seven minutes, scored twice and handed out two assists as Duquesne took control, building a lead of as many as 16 points.
Sacred Heart rallied to cut the lead to single digits, but could get no closer than eight as the Dukes held the Pioneers to a 2-of-15 effort from the arc in the second half. Duquesne, despite shooting 2-of-13 from the 3-point arc, finished the game 46 percent from the field. Sacred Heart shot 37.1 percent. The Dukes outrebounded the Pioneers 46-36.
NOTES: The game was Duquesne's first outside of the United States ... DU's leading scorer, 6-8 forward Ron Dokes (13.7 ppg.), was held out of the first half to rest a bruised knee ... DU held Sacred Heart to a 37.1 percent shooting, marking the second consecutive game the Dukes have held an opponent under 40 percent (Youngstown State shot 39.1 percent in a 61-56 loss to DU on Dec. 18) ... Duquesne outrebounded the Pioneers 46-36 ... it was only the second time this season the Dukes have outrebounded an opponent (the other was in an 86-82 win over West Virginia on Nov. 25).
QUOTES:Duquesne head coach Danny Nee: "We took Sacred Heart's best shot in the first half. They played very well. We might have had 10 minutes of our best basketball all year [to start the second half]. When he [Ron Dokes] came in everything just clicked. He has a bruised knee, so I wanted to limit his minutes. We played him until we didn't need him anymore.
"Simplice took a step forward with his 15 rebounds. We need him to play like that."