Sunday, March 17, 2024

Duquesne Wins A10 Championship In Upset Of VCU

The celebration was on for Duquesne as the clock hit 0.00. Photos by Jason Schott

The Duquesne Dukes dominated early, and showed a steely determination late, as they won the A10 Championship Game, 57-51, over VCU on Sunday at Barclays Center.

The win assured that Duquesne, which entered the A10 Tournament as a No. 6 seed, will be in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1977. VCU was the fifth seed, which shows how topsy-turvy this tournament was, and they just missed their chance at repeating as champions in Brooklyn.

The scene during the National Anthem. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Dukes came out firing, and opened up a 24-9 lead, then were up by as many as 18, at 34-16, and they took a 36-22 lead into halftime.

David Dixon connecting on a layup that made it 31-16 Duquette with just under four minutes left in the first half. Photo by Jason Schott.

Just as team did throughout this tournament, VCU made a comeback. The Rams pulled to within three, at 42-39, with 6:49 left.

Duquesne responded with a 7-2 run to take a 49-41 lead when Jakub Nexaa buried a three-pointer at 4:35. 

VCU pulled within a point, 49-48, on a pair of Joe Bamisile free throws with 1:36 left, but Jake DiMichele then made a layup at 1:07 to restore Duquesne's three-point edge.

The reaction to Jake DiMichele's basket going in. Photo by Jason Schott.

Jimmy Clark III then made a pair of free throws with just 21 seconds left that made it 53-48 Duquesne and basically sealed the win.

The Duquesne fans anticipating Clark III taking his spot at the free throw line. Photos by Jason Schott.

Clark III connecting on his second free throw that made it a five-point game. 

Duquesne was led by Dae Dae Grant, who had 10 points on 3-12 from the field, including 3-8 from behind the arc, with four steals and two assists. In an incredibly balanced Duquesne scoring attack, he was the only player to put up double figures.

Jimmy Clark III had nine points (2-17 FG. 1-7 on threes, 4-4 free throws), with five rebounds, four steals, and two assists. Fousseyni Drame had 6 points (all from the free throw line), 12 rebounds, two assists, and a steal. 

VCU was led by Joe Bamisile, who had 20 points off the bench, on 7-15 shooting, with four rebounds and two assists.

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