Duquesne Wins 2024 Atlantic 10 Championship

Brooklyn, N.Y. – The Duquesne University men’s basketball team claimed its first Atlantic 10 Championship title since 1977 Sunday with a 57-51 victory over No. 5 seed VCU at the Barclays Center. The Dukes improved to 24-11 (.686) overall with the win and claimed an automatic bid to the 2024 NCAA Tournament.
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Owning a 36-22 advantage at halftime, the Rams (22-13) chipped away in the second half, closing to within 44-41 after a dunk from Toibu Lawal. Duquesne answered, getting a layup from sophomore forward David Dixon on a feed from senior guard Dae Dae Grant to pump the lead back to five, 46-41. Duquesne shot just 17.2 percent (5-for-29) from the field in the second half, but freshman forward Jakub Necas came up big, as he took an outlet pass from the paint from Dixon and buried a three-pointer to help push the Dukes lead to 49-41. VCU didn’t fold, scoring the next seven points to trim its deficit to 49-48 with 1:36 left, but on the next possession senior guard Jimmy Clark III found freshman guard Jake DiMichele alone in the paint for a floater at 1:07 to push Duquesne a 51-48 edge. The Dukes sealed the win at the free-throw line, including four from Clark III and a pair from forward Fousseyni Drame.
“Super proud of our guys resiliency and toughness,” head coach Keith Dambrot. “We were in so many games and had so many disappointments early in the year that we learned how to win even when things didn’t go very well for us. We were mature. Unemotional. We got in a rock fight, which is probably good for us rather than a smooth, flowing game. We’re one of the best defensive teams in the league, and if it’s 57-51 that’s good for us. We did a good job defensively the whole tournament, and I think that’s why we won.”
Grant was named the 2024 Atlantic 10 Championship Most Outstanding Player after averaging 16.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 42.6 percent (23-for-54) from the field. He scored 10 points in the title game, all of which came in the first half as Duquesne grabbed its biggest lead, 36-18, with 2:14 remaining before halftime. Joining Grant as a member of the 2024 Atlantic 10 All-Tournament Team was Clark III, who averaged 15.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists while converting 13 of his 15 opportunities at the free-throw line (86.7%).
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First appeared on goduquesne.com

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