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Six score in double digits as Duquesne dominates Norfolk State

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Sean Johnson, Damian Saunders, Bill Clark, B.J. Monteiro, Eric Evans and Joel Wright all reached double-digits in points Sunday afternoon as Duquesne drubbed Norfolk State for a 95-73 win at the A.J. Palumbo Center.

Claiming victory at home for the second time in 48 hours, the Dukes (7-5) lit up the score board while taking advantage of foul trouble and bad ball handling by the Spartans, who dropped to 1-11 on the season.

Norfolk State kept the score close early on, as Mid Eastern Athletic Conference club trailed just 25-22 after Kyle O'Quinn made two free throws with 7:10 remaining in the first half. However, the Dukes went on an 18-6 tear to widen their lead to 43-28 at half time. After Monteiro made a lay-up and a free throw 3:52 into the second half, Duquesne led 52-30 and never had their points advantage dip below 20 the rest of the game.

Johnson, a sophomore guard from Queens, N.Y., led the Dukes with a career-best 19 points.

"To be honest, I've been waiting for him to have this kind of game," said Dukes coach Ron Everhart. "Sean is a tough kid. He listens and works hard in practice every day. He's always giving you everything he's got."

Everhart also got big games from some usual, and unusual, sources. Senior stars Saunders and Clark had 14 and 13 points, respectively, while Monteiro chipped in 11. The Dukes, ranked in the top 20 nationally in scoring, received 10 points apiece from Evans (appearing in just his second game of the year following foot surgery) and Wright, a freshman who has now reached the double digits in three of Duquesne's last four games following a slow start.

Saunders stood out on the other side of the ball as well. The A-10 Defensive Player of the Year blocked four shots and didn't commit a single foul.

By contrast, the Spartans played a sloppy game. They had 35 personal fouls, bringing the Dukes to the free throw line often. Freebies have been anything but for Duquesne most of this season, as they ranked 310th in the country in free throw percentage entering the game. But the Dukes converted 36 of 45 opportunities in this one, good for an 80 percent success rate. Johnson went a perfect 9-for-9 from the line. The Dukes refrained from sending many Spartans to the line, too, as they committed just 16 personal fouls.

Norfolk State got double-digit point games from Pendarvis Williams, Kyle O'Quinn and Ron Hampton, but all three frequently got the whistle while on defense. O'Quinn and Hampton both fouled out, while Williams had four fouls. Hampton, the Spartans' leading scorer this season, also turned the ball over seven times, and Williams coughed it up on five occasions.

QUOTABLE

"Defensively, we rebounded the ball and helped each other. Offensively we're moving the basketball better and our playmakers are making plays. I thought T.J. McConnell and Mike Talley did a good job of running our basketball team. We are a much better basketball team that we were a month ago."
-- Dukes head coach Ron Everhart on the play of his team, which has won three of its past four games.

TEAM STATS

FG%: DUQ 47.4, NOR 38.6

FT%: DUQ 80.0, NOR 92.9

3-PT: DUQ 27.8, NOR 30.0

RBS: DUQ 36, NOR 32

LEADERS

Scoring: DUQ- Johnson 19; NOR- Williams 16

Rebounds: DUQ- Saunders 6; NOR- O'Quinn 9

Assists: DUQ- Clark, Saunders, Monteiro, McConnell, Johnson 3; NOR- Pauline 6

Blocks: DUQ- Saunders 4; NOR- Williams 2

Steals: DUQ- McConnell 2; NOR- Pauline 2

NEXT UP

Seeking a third straight win, the Dukes will open Atlantic 10 conference play at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 5, against the Saint Joseph's Hawks. Norfolk State gets a much-needed respite, as the Spartans' next contest is a home game versus the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats on Saturday, January 8, at 6 p.m.

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