PITTSBURGH (AP)—Since Ron Everhart was hired as coach five years ago, Duquesne has regularly produced one of the nation’s top scoring offenses.
Lately, the Dukes have added an elite defense to match.
For the second consecutive game, Duquesne held an opponent to without a field goal for a stretch of more than 11 minutes. Bill Clark had 22 points and the Dukes went out to a big early lead and cruised to their sixth straight win, 78-66 over No. 19 Temple on Saturday.
“I feel like a lot of times people don’t really respect our defense, but we try to get after it,” said Clark, whose team has been in the top 16 nationally in scoring offense three of the past four seasons. “Our practices are strictly defense and just defending the ball and playing passing lanes and help… By holding a team to such little scoring in such a long stretch, that gives us confidence and makes us want to play defense even better.”
Duquesne (11-5, 3-0 Atlantic 10) scored the game’s first 10 points and held leads of 19-1 and 22-2 after making their first five shots—four from 3-point range. The Owls, who shot 31 percent for the game, missed their first 14 shots and didn’t make their first field goal until the 8:18 mark of the first half.
“Twenty-two to two, that’s a great statement by Duquesne and not much of a statement by us,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said.
Saint Louis went 14:01 without a basket in a 67-45 Dukes’ win on Wednesday.
Ramone Moore had 18 points to lead the Owls (12-4, 3-1), who had won nine of their previous 10.
“We take a lot of pride in shutting people down,” Duquesne guard B.J. Monteiro said. “We know we can score—all of us can score a bunch—but if we bring our defense every night, we feel we can beat anybody.”
After the slow start, the closest the Owls would get was 28-18—but the Dukes responded with an 11-1 run. Temple was 4-for-24 shooting (17 percent) in the first half, while Duquesne shot 67 percent (12-for-18). The Dukes, who shot 48 percent for the game, had led at halftime in four of their five losses but held on this time.
After Temple scored the first six points of the second half, Duquesne went on an 8-2 run to essentially put the game away. The Owls scored 14 points in the final 2:20.
“We’d go on a little run, and they’d respond,” Temple forward Lavoy Allen said. “They’d hit some big shots and respond.”
Eric Evans added 13 points for Duquesne, which had lost four straight to three-time defending Atlantic 10 champion Temple and had lost 27 of its previous 28 against ranked opponents.
Standout Duquesne freshman T.J. McConnell—the reigning Atlantic 10 rookie of the week who led the Dukes in scoring in their previous game—sat out the first 10 minutes of the first half for disciplinary reasons. McConnell was late for a team function Saturday morning.
Temple had point guard Juan Fernandez available for the first time in three games after a knee injury. But Duquesne improved to 7-1 on its home court, winning by double digits in each of its 11 victories.
The Owls entered the game leading the conference and ranked 15th nationally in scoring defense (58.4 ppg) but allowed a season-high 40 first-half points.
Temple had won 15 of 17 against Duquesne and had been 13-1 against the Dukes when ranked, last losing to Duquesne as a ranked team in 1956.
Duquesne’s winning streak has coincided with the return of Evans, a junior guard who missed the first 10 games with a foot injury. The Dukes are 2-1 under Everhart against ranked teams at the Palumbo Center after having lost 15 of their prior 17 such games.
“It was a great win for our program and a great win for our kids,” Everhart said. “They as a group had talked about this game for a long time.
“We obviously had to give a great effort in order to (win). I felt like our guys played with a lot of character and a lot of intensity.”