Duquesne savors third road victory
NEW YORK — Duquesne may have surprised Fordham on the Rams’ home floor Wednesday night to post its fourth consecutive victory in the series, but the Dukes had better be ready for another rematch.
Regardless of how Duquesne (8-20, 5-10 Atlantic 10 West) fares on the road Saturday against Massachusetts in the Dukes’ regular-season finale, Fordham (12-14, 8-7 A-10 East), at the same time, will be facing a tough test at East-leading Saint Joseph’s.
Up until Wednesday’s 61-57 loss to Duquesne, Fordham’s only other home loss in the conference had come against the Hawks. Should the Rams fail in their final regular-season test, they are likely to meet up again with Duquesne in the first round of the A-10 tournament in Cincinnati next week.
“We knew Fordham was going to play passionately,” Duquesne coach Danny Nee said. “(In the conference), they were 6-1 in this building. The atmosphere here was excellent. They?ve made a 100 percent turnaround here.”
Youth served the Dukes well in their latest performance, as freshman DeVario Hudson scored 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting, and sophomore Kieron Achara added 10 points and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds.
The two combined for five blocked shots.
Hudson, for one, is convinced it’s not too late for the Dukes to be a factor at the A-10 tournament, and he said Wednesday’s outcome proves it.
“We had a team meeting and cleared everything up. We’re all on the same page,” he said. “Once the tournament starts, everbody’s got a 0-0 record.”
Duquesne has won three A-10 road games for the second consecutive season, marking the first time that’s happened since 1994-95. Duquesne will shoot for its fourth league road win tomorrow afternoon in Amherst, Mass.
The Dukes haven’t accomplished that feat since the 1980-81 team posted a 20-10 record, including a 4-3 road mark in the former Eastern 8 Conference.
Duquesne’s Bryant McAllister also was a key contributor in the victory over Fordham, as the junior guard scored 12 points while steadying a sometimes-erratic offense.
“Everybody played hard. That’s the key ingredient. We’ve been inconsistent. This makes up for a lot of things,” said McAllister, whose career point total stands at an even 1,000 points following Wednesday’s showing.
Duquesne, which led from the 1:41 mark of the first half, saw an 11-point lead cut to one when sensational Fordham freshman Bryant Dunston scored on a dunk with 37 seconds left.
“He won’t be here four years. He’ll be in the NBA in three,” Nee said of the 6-foot-8 Dunston, who scored 13 points and had eight rebounds and two blocks.
On Duquesne’s next possession, senior Martin Osimani, who finished with 10 points, was fouled and hit two free throws to make the score 60-57 with 17 seconds left.
Fordham’s Marcus Stout, who tied Hudson with 16 points, missed a contested 3-point shot from well beyond the top of the key with 5 seconds remaining. Osimani came out of a pack with the ball, was fouled and hit the second of two free throws with 1.5 seconds left to seal the win.
Duquesne, using a combination of changing defenses, limited Fordham to 33.9 percent shooting. The Dukes, who went without a 3-pointer for the first time since 1993 (a streak of 344 games), finished at 46.0 percent overall.
Notes: Duquesne was scheduled to bus to Hartford, Conn., today to begin preparing for its game at Massachusetts. … Former Duquesne walk-on Mike Spadafora scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds for Gettysburg, which lost to Carnegie Mellon, 66-60, Wednesday in the first round of the ECAC Southern Region Division III Tournament.