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April 20, 2017

Dukes beat Hawkeyes, Saunders, Wright named POW

Duquesne’s men’s basketball team made history on Nov. 17, when it defeated Iowa 52-50. It was the Dukes (2-0) first victory over a Big Ten team in 36 years.

The last time the Dukes pulled off such a feat was on Dec. 28, 1973, when they earned a 85-83 victory over Illinois. Similar to the game against the Hawkeyes (0-2), the victory for the Dukes back in 1973 was by a slim margin of two points.

The first half of the game proved to be in favor of Duquesne, who led by eight (33-25) at the half. Thirteen of the Dukes’ points were off turnovers alone, as the Hawkeyes outscored the Dukes off the bench (6-0).

The Hawkeyes managed a comeback in the second half which made the game tighter. Iowa outscored the Dukes 25-19 in the second half of play, with 12 of the points coming from inside the paint. Duquesne failed again in the second half to score any points off the bench.

While the Hawkeyes led in nearly every statistical category in the game, the Dukes out rebounded Iowa (42-38), and sunk more 3-pointers (8-6).

Junior Damian Saunders, who earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors after Duquesne’s match against Nicholls State, earned a double-double in the game against Iowa. Saunders scored 16 points, and grabbed 16 rebounds, but fouled out later in the game.

The Dukes had another player score in double digits, with junior Bill Clark scoring 20 points in his 39 minutes of play. He also had four turnovers and six rebounds, proving to be an all-around player.

Supporting Duquesne to victory was sophomore Eric Evans, who had six assists against Iowa, and also scored seven points.

First POW announced

The first Players of the Week for the A-10 regular season were announced Tuesday, with Saunders and Chris Wright (from Duquesne and Dayton, respectively) earning the awards for their contributions to their teams’ victories.

Saunders received the award after scoring 17 points and grabbing 19 rebounds, six on the offensive end and 13 on the defensive end – a career high.

The 7-of-13 shooting gave the Dukes (2-0) the edge in their 85-62 victory over the Colonels. While the Flyers found themselves down in the second half, Saunders attributed five assists, four steals, a block and 12 of his 19 rebounds to the offensive push.

Wright had a game-high 25 points for the Flyers (2-0), as they pushed passed Creighton, 90-80. Similar to Saunders, most of Wright’s offensive efforts came in the second half, as he scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

His scoring ability was on showcase, shooting 9-for-12, which included two 3-point baskets while blocking two shots on the defensive end.

For both Saunders and Wright, this is their second Player of the Week awards. Both were also named to the preseason all-conference teams, with Wright being on the first team and Saunders on the second.

Rookies worth a look

The Rookies of the Week for the week of Nov. 16 should not go unnoticed by the rest of the A-10, as both freshmen Shamarr Bowden and Aaric Murray dominated their respective games.

Bowden, who came off the bench for Charlotte, scored a team-high 21 points in 11 minutes of play, with 12 of those points being scored in 67 seconds. Much of this can be attributed to Bowden’s 3-point percentage, as he went just over 54 percent from beyond the arc. Bowden’s 6-for-11 3-point shooting led the 49ers (2-1) past North Carolina-Asheville, 86-70.

Murray gave the Explorers (1-0) 16 points from the center position, including 11 rebounds, receiving his first college double-double.

With the accomplishment, Murray becomes the first freshman player to earn a double-double in his freshman debut game since Michael Brooks did the same on Nov. 26, 1976.

Herb Scribner can be reached at hscribne@student.umass.edu.

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