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Duquesne battles but falls to St. Joe's 74-66

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Andre Marhold had 13 points and 11 rebounds, but it wasn't enough as Duquesne played from behind all evening and fell, 74-66, to visiting St. Joe's.

The Duquesne Dukes (7-9, 0-2 A10) put up a spirited effort Saturday evening, when the Saint Joseph’s Hawks (9-5, 1-1 A10) visited the A.J. Palumbo Center for the Dukes’ first home Atlantic-10 contest. But the Hawks held on late in the game despite a surge from the Dukes in the second half to tie the game at 51 apiece, outscoring Duquesne 23-15 over the final 9:35 and taking home a tough road victory.

For Duquesne head coach Jim Ferry, he knew beforehand there would be no chance for errors and mistakes in the contest due to the nature of the Dukes opponent—a veteran, experienced St. Joe’s team selected to finish first in the conference in the pre-season.

“When you’re playing a team like St. Joe’s, with their experience and their talent, the margin of error is very glaringly small,” Ferry said. “I thought we lost because that team was better than us and they made plays down the stretch.”

Duquesne—picked to finish last in the conference—played the Hawks with the intensity of a conference leader, something senior center Andre Marhold came about in practice prior to the game.

“[Playing with energy] all started in practice. In practice, we just picked up the intensity,” Marhold said. “So the enthusiasm in practice just carried over to the game.”

Marhold finished the game with his first career double-double, delivering a 13-point, 11-rebound performance while primarily matched up with St. Joe’s shot-blocking machine, 6’9” C.J. Aiken who finished with seven blocks Saturday night.

As for St. Joe’s, head coach Phil Martelli knew the Dukes would come out with intensity and that his Hawks would have to fend off their play but also respond accordingly.

“In our gameplan, we used that term, that we would have to take a swing on every play and we’d have to duck a swing on every play,” Martelli said. “We anticipated that they would keep coming.”

And according to Martelli, a key to the Hawks’ ability to duck the multiple swings dealt from the Dukes resulted from the advantage St. Joe’s had that Duquesne could not match—experience.

“We’re older,” Martelli said. “There were a lot of times they had three freshmen on the floor…we’re just older.”

For Martelli’s Hawks, his experienced players delivered with four scoring in double-figures. Langston Galloway led all scorers with 16, Carl Jones scored 15, Ronald Roberts put up 13 along with 11 rebounds, and Chris Wilson chipped in 12.

But for this young team, Ferry saw a great deal of encouraging signs out of the Dukes in their match-up with the veteran Hawks.

“We played extremely hard, we played extremely physical, we guarded well, we really rebounded the basketball which has been the message that’s been sent because we haven’t been doing that,” Ferry said.

Also important to Ferry was that his team showed the style of play necessary for the Dukes to be successful in conference play.

“We have to play this hard every single night. We have to be this disciplined, this focused, and play with a sense of urgency every single night to give ourselves a chance to win in this league with young players,” Ferry said. “And we did that tonight. We gave ourselves a chance.”

Despite St. Joe’s jumping out to an early lead on the strength of hot 3-point shooting—the Hawks finished 7-13 from beyond the arc in the first half—the Dukes never trailed by more than 11 when St. Joe’s led 23-12 early on. Duquesne then battled back to trail by seven points at halftime, 40-33, and hung in with one of the conference’s best teams as the second half wore on, tying the game at 51.

On each side, the offensive performance will likely draw ire from each team’s respective coach with the Hawks shooting 41.5 percent from the field, and the Dukes finishing at 38.5 percent.

Regardless of the team’s standings, Duquesne proved its ability to play with the big boys of the Atlantic 10, but it is a style of play that can in no way drop off for the Dukes to win conference games.

“What [the team] should take from this is that when you play this hard and rebound the basketball, you give yourself a chance to win,” Ferry said. “If we play like this and we play this hard, we’ll win some games in this league. Yet, if we drop down just one decimal from playing this hard and this focused on rebounding the basketball, we won’t win any games.”

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