The Duquesne Dukes men’s basketball team (1-0) started off the season strong, looking down the bench for depth to defeat the Loyola Maryland Greyhounds (0-1) 65-60 on Friday at the Palumbo Center.
Sophomore guard Tarin Smith led the Dukes in scoring — tying his career-high of 13 points — followed by graduate guard Emile Blackman and freshmen guards Mike Lewis II and Spencer Littleson, who all contributed eight points to the team’s total. Junior forward Eric James and freshman forward Isiaha Mike both added seven points, while senior center Darius Lewis and sophomore forward Nakye Sanders scored six points each.
The Greyhounds leading scorers both netted 21 points — senior guard Jarred Jones and junior guard Andre Walker.
And despite that disparity in points scored by the team’s leading scorers, depth was what really mattered in the game. The Duquesne bench outscored Loyola’s 23-3.
Duquesne head coach Jim Ferry praised Blackman, who narrowly missed out on a double-double, for his leadership.
“It’s a process playing all of these new guys together,” Ferry said of his young squad.
Although Ferry said the game was “an early-season, ugly basketball game” with 16 turnovers on the Duquesne side, he said his team showed resilience.
“We got down early, and they could have become deer in the headlights, but they didn’t,” Ferry said, referencing the Greyhounds’ early seven-point lead. “(Our defenders) locked in, and they defended.”
Ferry said his team must focus on its defense throughout the season.
“We have to keep working on getting better every day and keep working on becoming a better team — being really good teammates every day,” Ferry said. “Our goal with this team is to get good in January and February.”
Duquesne travels to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions (0-1) tomorrow at 6 p.m. EST at State College, PA.
Image credit: GoDuquesne.com