Courtesy of SJUHawks.com
Charlie Brown Jr., scored 28 points, but Saint Joseph’s (7-9; 0-4 A-10) was edged by Duquesne, 85-84, at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
In a contest that featured 10 ties and seven lead changes, Duquesne broke a 73-73 tie with over four minutes to play with a 9-2 run, led by six points from Michael Hughes, to take its biggest lead of the half, 82-75. The Hawks pulled within 83-81 on a three-pointer by Clover at :24. Eric Williams, Jr., then hit a free throw at :22 and SJU’s next three-point attempt was off the mark. Hughes hit one free throw at :08 to seal the game, and Bynum connected on a three at the buzzer to provide the final margin.
The Hawks held the early lead but faced an emotional setback after SJU redshirt junior Pierfrancesco Oliva went down with a serious knee injury midway through the first half.
SJU was ahead, 25-14, at the time and play was stopped for over 10 minutes as Oliva was attended to by medical personnel. After play resumed, the Dukes went on a 17-4 run to take their first lead of the game, 31-29, with 5:33 to play. But by halftime, the Hawks had regained the lead, 40-39, behind 17 points from Brown.
In an intense second half, the Hawks held their biggest lead, 56-48, but saw Duquesne go on a 10-2 run to tie it, 58-58. A layup by Bynum with six minutes left gave SJU a 73-71 lead, for the Hawks’ final advantage of the game. The teams struggled to score for the next three minutes but Williams’ dunk with under two minutes left gave the Dukes a 77-73 lead.
“I thought one of the keys to the game was going to be getting a shot every time down. But there were eight turnovers in the first half. We had a nice offensive half but the turnovers negated a lot of the good that we did. And it was a tale of two halves – we gave up three foul shots in the first half and 19 in the second. We had a lot of trouble guarding the low post,” said head coach Phil Martelli. “It was certainly not a lack of effort, it was just an unfortunate result. We came out of the first half and two of our starters had not scored, so everybody’s got to do more. I think they were just really stunned about Checco’s (Oliva) injury.”
At the start, the Hawks jumped out quickly, making seven of their first nine shots to take an 18-7 lead in the first six minutes. Brown had 10 points in the early going on 4-of-5 shooting, and SJU took its biggest lead, 22-7, with 12:15 to play.
Duquesne (11-5; 2-1) had six players in double figures, with Michael Hughes hitting a team-high 17 points.
It was the Hawks’ fourth straight loss, matching a streak from 2014-15.
Saint Joseph’s returns home from the two-game road swing to host Davidson on Tuesday night for a nationally-televised game (ESPNU) at 9 p.m.