Duquesne continues streak; La Salle wins on buzzer beater

By Scott Cournoyer

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B.J. Monteiro scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Duquesne men’s basketball team past Charlotte, 83-67, on Saturday to remain undefeated in the Atlantic 10 conference this season.

The Dukes (13-5, 5-0 A-10) are currently riding an eight-game winning streak, the longest in 39 years by a Duquesne team dating back to the 1971-72 season.

Senior Damian Saunders recorded 15 points and five steals for DU, while freshman T.J. McConnell contributed seven points and six steals, backing up his conference Rookie of the Week honor from the week before.

The Dukes racked up 16 steals on the night, coming up one short of tying the school record of 17, which was set in a victory over La Salle last Wednesday. The entire squad seemed to be clicking on all cylinders, as five players recorded three-or-more assists, as well as outscoring the 49ers 31-2 off transition turnovers. The Dukes will look to increase the winning steak when they head to New York on Wednesday to face Fordham.

XU rides A-10 streak

Like Duquesne, Xavier is putting together an impressive steak of performances in conference play. XU’s Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons paved the way to an 88-77 victory for the squad as they rolled past Temple at home Saturday.

The Musketeers (13-5, 5-0 A-10) secured their fifth A-10 win this season with four players scoring in double figures, shooting nearly 53 percent from the floor for the game.

Holloway and Lyons scored 21 and 19 respectively, with Holloway also racking up a game-high nine rebounds and seven assists. Although only leading 41-39 at half, XU stepped up the effort, shooting over 55 percent in the second half.

Xavier’s victory over Temple was their 35th consecutive home win against an A-10 opponent, which is now an all-time conference record. The record was previously held by Temple, who won 34 in a row from 1987 to 1991. The Musketeers will be back in action Wednesday as they take on George Washington at home, trying to make it 36 in a row against A-10 opponents.

Murray hits game-winner

La Salle captured its first conference victory in a thriller Saturday against Rhode Island, when sophomore Aaric Murray scored the game-winning 3-pointer with 28 seconds remaining in the game. The 3-point shot capped a 76-75 victory for the Explorers (9-11, 1-4 A-10), who faced an 11-point deficit with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game.

Murray finished the game with 20 points to lead all scorers. Junior Earl Pettis contributed 14 points for La Salle, including the game-tying 3-point score with one minute, 43 seconds left in the contest. The Explorers will look to make it back-to-back conference wins on Wednesday when Saint Joseph’s comes to town.

A-10 Honors

Xavier’s Tu Holloway took home this week’s A-10 Player of the Week award for his performances in victories against St. Bonaventure and Temple last week. Holloway averaged 21.5 points, five rebounds and assists and two steals over the week, which included the junior’s game-high 22 points against the Bonnies.

Duquesne’s T.J. McConnell continues his spectacular freshman campaign by claiming his third consecutive conference Rookie of the Week honor, and fourth overall this season. The local Pittsburgh, Penn. product played a combined 56 minutes in two contests last week, scoring 13 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists in a win against La Salle.

Freshman guard Matthew Wright scored career-highs in points in back-to-back contest last week for the Bonnies, earning himself a co-share for this week’s conference Rookie of the Week award. Against Xavier and George Washington, Wright shot 75 percent (9-of-12) from the floor, including 5-of-7 from beyond the arch. The Toronto native’s effort helped his team capture their first victory against GW in over 20 years, with their last one coming in 1989.

Scott Cournoyer can be reached at [email protected].