St. Joe's worn out against Duquesne

February 6, 2008 6:31:32 PM PST
Shawn James had a rare college triple-double with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocked shots and Duquesne wore down fatigued Saint Joseph's with its quickness and pressure defense during a 102-88 victory Wednesday night.

Kojo Mensah scored 19 points, Gary Tucker and Aaron Jackson added 18 points each and Damian Saunders scored 14 as the Dukes (14-7, 4-4 in Atlantic 10) repeatedly frustrated the Hawks (15-6, 6-2) with a full-court press that resulted in turnovers, poor shots and fast break chances.

Pat Calathes had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Garret Williamson added 17 points, but the Hawks' six-game winning streak ended. The Hawks had won 11 of 12 overall and had beaten Duquesne 10 consecutive times, including an 89-41 rout in Philadelphia last season.

When Duquesne guards Mensah, Tucker and Jackson weren't creating offense, James - the nation's leading shot blocker two seasons ago at Northeastern before transferring - was dunking and blocking shots during the first triple-double in Duquesne history.

Saint Joseph's played its second game in three days - it beat Philadelphia rival Villanova 77-55 on Monday - and its fourth in eight days and it showed as Duquesne took control with a 19-0 run late in the first half.

Duquesne started the run with a 27-25 lead with 4:57 remaining in the first half and ended it exactly four minutes later with a 46-25 lead. Damian Saunders hit a pair of 3-pointers during the run and James dunked off a steal and hit two free throws.

It was a major turnaround for the Dukes, who had lost two in a row and were coming off their worst performance of the season, a 74-59 loss Saturday to a St. Bonaventure team it had beaten 83-67 earlier in the season.

Saint Joseph's, falling out of a tie with Xavier for the Atlantic 10 lead, played without its second leading scorer as 6-9 Ahmad Nivins, who averages 14.2 points, who stayed in Philadelphia with an ankle injury. His absence showed as Duquesne blocked 15 shots, forced 16 turnovers and held a 36-31 rebounding edge.

Duquesne, closing in on its first winning season since 1993-94, is 10-2 at home, only the third time since the 1980-81 season it has won 10 or more games on their home court. The Dukes were 10-4 in 1980-81 and 12-3 in 1993-94.