Saint Louis took control of the missed shots Wednesday night at Palumbo Center, but Duquesne countered where it mattered most — putting the basketball through the net — in a 77-73 Atlantic 10 victory.
The Dukes (14-5, 5-1) moved into a second-place tie with Saint Louis (14-5, 5-1) in the conference — one-half game behind George Mason — while stretching their conference winning streak to five, the longest since the 2010-11 team opened the season 8-0.
Duquesne is 14-5 for only the second time since 1980.
The game matched the Billikens, picked to finish first in the A-10 in a preseason poll, against the Dukes, projected 11th.
The Billikens outrebounded Duquesne, 54-31, but missed 18 of 20 3-point attempts. Duquesne was not shy about putting the ball up from long range, attempting 29 while making only six. But those extra points proved to be decisive.
Marcus Weathers, who came into the game with a 54.7 shooting percentage from the free-throw line, led the Dukes with a career-high 19 points while making 11 of 13 foul shots. Overall, Duquesne scored 25 points from the foul line on 38 attempts. Eric Wiliams added 16 for Duquesne. Michael Hughes scored nine points and collected four of his team’s seven blocks.
Javon Bess scored 24 points for Saint Louis.
The Dukes trailed throughout the first half but took a 37-36 lead 17 seconds into the second half on a basket by Michael Hughes and never relinquished the advantage.
Early in the game, Saint Louis took control of the boards and eventually built a 34-26 lead with 3:03 left in the first half.
But the Dukes rallied late.
Point guard Sincere Carry, who had 10 points and seven assists, sank a foul shot and set up Williams for a basket with an alley-oop pass. Then, reserves Tavian Dunn-Martin and Gavin Bizeau hit 3s to trim Saint Louis’ lead to 36-35 at intermission.
The Billikens gathered 23 rebounds to Duquesne’s 13 in the first half, getting 15 second-chance points in the process. The Dukes often were in position to rebound, but on many occasions allowed the basketball slip out of their hands to an opposing player.
Until the final three minutes, the Dukes had trouble generating offense while missing 10 of their first 11 3-point attempts.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry at [email protected] or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.