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Rebounds leads RMU over Duquesne in County Game

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RMU controlled the boards and beat Duquesne 66-59 Sunday at the A.J. Palumbo Center, marking the Colonials’ sixth County Game win in seven years.

RMU won its first game to improve to 1-3, while the Dukes fall to 2-1.

THE BIG STORY

RMU coach Andrew Toole knew that the Colonials had a chance to set the pace on the glass when he noticed Duquesne was allowing 13 offensive rebounds per game on average. The Colonials did just that, picking up 21 offensive rebounds compared to Duquesne’s 6, beating the Dukes on the glass 49-32.

“We talked to our front court guys, again, [on] how many extra possession can they get us,” Toole said. “...just trying to put pressure on them by crashing that glass as much as we could.”

Part of Duquesne’s problem stemmed from center Jordan Robinson, who fouled out after just 15 minutes of action. The Dukes’ big man only had one rebound on the night.

Freshman Tydus Verhoeven said Duquesne needs to “crash the glass as a whole unit” more. He briefly brought up Duquesne’s lack of depth in the post-game presser in his explanation of RMU’s performance, but coach Keith Dambrot briefly cut him off to say “but we won’t make any excuses.”

“They out-toughed us. They outplayed us,” Dambrot said. “We didn’t get our guys ready to play for whatever reason. We just weren’t very good.”

GAME SUMMARY

Duquesne held onto slim leads throughout most of the first, but a 12-0 run near the end of the half gave RMU a 33-30 advantage going into the locker room. Rene Castro-Caneddy had 14 points to lead the Dukes, while Malike Petteway lead the Colonial attack with 8.

The Dukes went 1-11 from the court over the course of 14:51 in the second half, all but sealing the win for Robert Morris. Duquesne went a combined 7-21 from the field in the second half.

RMU did not shoot much better, going 12-31 in the second half and only shooting 37.9% in the game, but 18 second half points compared to Duquesne’s 8 was the difference. Petteway and Matty McConnell finished with a team-high 13 points.

Castro-Caneddy finished with 18 points, tying him with Eric Williams, Jr. for a team high 18 points. Mike Lewis II was held scoreless.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED

With 12:06 remaining, Lewis II went to the line with a chance to tie the game at 44. He was 17-18 on free-throws entering play, but he whiffed on both shots. Duquesne lead for only 50 seconds after his misses.

I SPY

Lewis II, Castro-Caneddy and Smith went a combined 1-10 from the field in the second half.

“We also talked about trying to limit, Lewis, Smith and Castro-Caneddy and make them shoot low percentages,” Toole said. “We were able to accomplish that, and I think that’s the reason we were able to get the win.”

AND ONE

Verhoeven picked up seven blocked shots in the loss, tying the Duquesne freshman record. The school high was set by derrick Alston vs. Saint Joseph’s on Jan. 5, 1991.

“Just being aggressive,” Verhoeven said. “Getting to the hoop, driving, kicking...just trying to do everything I can on the court for the team.”

He did a good job filling the stat sheet, finishing with a team-high nine rebounds and three assists. He also scored 12 points, but the blocks stole the show. Even in just his third game, he earned high praise from his coach.

“Other than Zeke Marshall, he’s the best shot blocker I’ve ever had,” Dambrot said. Marshall picked up 368 blocks for Dambrot at Akron from 2009-2013.

Verhoeven fouled out in the first two games of the season, but was only charged with one foul Sunday.

GAME HIGHS

Points: Castro-Caneddy/Williams, Jr (18); Rebounds: Petteway (RMU, 14); Assists: Leondre Washington (RMU, 4); Turnovers: Williams, Jr. (6); Blocks: Verhoeven; Steals: Dachon Burke (RMU, 4).

HE SAID IT

Dambrot on why Duquesne couldn’t stop RMU on the boards: “We’re playing with midgets.”

ON DECK

Duquesne will take a break from game action over Thanksgiving week. They will return on Nov. 27, facing Cornell at 7 p.m..

NUMB3RS

1. Duquesne had 20 turnovers Sunday: 10 in the first half, 10 in the second. They only turned the ball over 18 times all year entering play.

2. The Dukes only had five assists. All three in the second half were picked up by Verhoeven.

3. RMU outscored Duquesne in the paint 40-20, including 22-6 in the second half.

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