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Duquesne cruises to blowout win over cold-shooting St. Louis

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Duquesne held St. Louis to 11 percent shooting in the first half and Derrick Colter scored 17 points as the Dukes cruised to an 81-71 win over the Billikens Wednesday night at the A.J. Palumbo Center.

PITTSBURGH - Duquesne went “back to basics” Wednesday night and snapped a four game losing streak, beating Saint Louis 81-71.

“We were moving the ball really well in practice this week,” guard Micah Mason said. “It was our main focus. Just getting back to the basics.”

Duquesne bigman Darius Lewis matched a career high with seven blocks and Derrick Colter led Duquesne (11-6, 1-3) with 17 points en route to their first Atlantic 10 conference win of the season. Saint Louis (6-10, 1-3) shot just 11.1 percent from the field in the first half.

Duquesne took command early thanks in part to help from Lewis. Lewis grabbed three boards and scored six points to give the Dukes an early 17-2 lead with 13:56 in the first, but the story of the night with him was his blocking. Lewis went into halftime with six blocks- five of them within the first 14 minutes of the game- and eight points.

“I thought he was a monster tonight,” head coach Jim Ferry said.

Lewis wasn’t the only forward to punish Saint Louis early, as Eric James went into the half with four points and five rebounds while TySean Powell had seven boards and four points. Overall, the Dukes crushed the Billikens in the paint 20-2 in the first half.

The defense did not relent either. Saint Louis shot a miserable 4-36 from the field, and Duquesne went into the half with a commanding 38-13 advantage.

“Every time they ended up getting the ball, we’re trying to get kills,” Lewis said. “As that kept happening, we were trying to keep it going, and basically bust the lead wide open.”

The Billikens fixed their shooting problem in the second half, but a lot of that was due to them playing against Duquesne’s backups. Mason and Colter dictated the later half early, scoring nine and six points respectively before being pulled with a 71-38 lead with 8:24 to play.

Ash Yacoubou’s 20 point second half made the score look more respectable, but his efforts were in vain. The Billikens were able to shave off 23 points of Duquesne’s lead in the last eight minutes and change, but Ferry said he felt like it was important to rest his starters and give his bench some playing time instead of winning big.

“We have to figure out who's that next guy who is going to help this rotation,” Ferry said. “There’s a big picture here. We have to worry about the season.”

Lewis and Powell ended the night with 10 points each in 33 combined minutes. The Dukes ended the night shooting 49.1 percent from the field while the Billikens ended the night at 32.8 percent. Duquesne also won the battle of the boards 43-33.

Duquesne will take on St. Bonaventure Saturday at 6 p.m.. The Bonnies are 12-3 on the year and 4-0 in conference play.

1. Saint Louis’ 13 first half points was the lowest total by a Duquesne opponent since Savannah State was held to 13 Dec. 5, 2009.

2. Darius Lewis now leads the Dukes with 27 blocks.

3. Lewis’ other seven block game also came against Saint Louis in the A10 tournament last year.

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