PITTSBURGH, Pa. – For the second consecutive game, a furious late rally fell short for the Saint Joseph's men's basketball team, as the Hawks scored 12 of the game's final 14 points but ultimately fell to Duquesne, 71-68, at the Palumbo Center on Wednesday night.
Sophomore DeAndre’ Bembry led four SJU double-digit scorers with 18 points. Junior Aaron Brown scored 15 points, while junior Isaiah Miles added 11 points and eight rebounds and freshman James Demery chipped in with 10 points of his own.
Saint Joseph’s (6-7 overall, 0-2 Atlantic 10) enjoyed an early advantage, opening up a seven-point lead at 16-9 with 13:17 to go in the first half. After a three-pointer by Micah Mason got the Dukes within four, SJU used an 11-3 run, capped off by a three-point play from Brown, to take its biggest lead of the game, 27-15, with 9:45 to go in the half.
Duquesne (6-7 overall, 1-1 Atlantic 10) was held to just two field goals over an eight-minute span, but a cold spell from the Hawks allowed the Dukes to crawl back into the game late in the period. After a three by Miles put the Hawks ahead 34-22, Duquesne held the Hawks to just a single basket over the final 6:27 of the half; a three by Mason with 37 seconds left to pulled the Dukes within a bucket at halftime as SJU led, 36-34.
As the second half began, the Hawks’ drought continued, as a jumper by Demery 49 seconds into the frame that restored the two-point edge was SJU’s only offense until a Bembry layup with 13:45 to go cut the Duquesne margin to five at 45-40.
The Hawks clawed back to within a basket as a layup by Brown left Duquesne with a 49-47 lead with 11:19 to go. The teams traded baskets over the next four minutes, with Miles converting a three-point play and Brown laying one in at 7:31 to leave the score at 56-54 in favor of the home team.
A three by Derrick Colter on the next possession pushed the lead back to five, but a Bembry dunk on a feed from freshman Shavar Newkirk with 6:06 to go left the Hawks trailing by three.
Duquesne seemed to put the game away at that point, scoring the next 10 points and taking its biggest lead of the night, 69-56, with 2:55 to go. But just like in Saturday’s game against George Washington, the Hawks rallied in the waning minutes and scored the next nine points to get back within four. Brown scored four straight points to start the spurt, Bembry hit one of his four three-pointers on the night, and Demery capped it off with a layup with 55.8 seconds to go to make it a 69-65 game.
After a layup from Colter pressed the margin to six, Bembry canned another three and was fouled with 39 seconds to go. He missed the free throw to leave the deficit at three, but Jeremiah Jones missed the front end of a one-and-one for the Dukes and sophomore Brendan Casper corralled the rebound to give the Hawks a chance to tie on the final possession.
Senior Chris Wilson missed on an attempt with 10 seconds to go, but Miles collected the rebound and fed Bembry for a final look, but his effort at the buzzer was blocked and the Dukes escaped with the win.
Colter led all scorers with 22 points for the Dukes, while Dominique McKoy added 13 in the winning effort. Wilson scored six points and added seven rebounds for the Hawks, while Newkirk handed out a game-high six assists in defeat.
The Hawks return to the court on Saturday in Richmond, Virginia, when they take on the 20th-ranked VCU Rams at 2:00 p.m. The game will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network.