Courtesy of SLUBillikens.com
ST. LOUIS – Micah Mason scored a career-high 22 points, and Duquesne took command with an 18-2 second-half run in a 71-64 upset of Saint Louis Thursday night at Chaifetz Arena.
Saint Louis (25-3, 12-1 Atlantic 10), ranked No. 8 in theUSA Today coaches’ poll and No. 10 by the Associated Press, was denied a 20th consecutive victory that would have clinched a tie for the A-10 regular-season crown. Duquesne (12-15, 4-10), which lost to SLU 76-72 in Pittsburgh Jan. 22, won for just the second time in eight games.
Mike McCall Jr. led the Billikens with 18 points, just one off his career high. McCall Jr. was 3-of-5 from 3-point range and 7-of-8 from the foul line, and he added three assists.
Jordair Jett had 13 points (6-of-9 FG) to go with three assists and a game-high-tying three steals. Rob Loe tossed in 12 points, and Dwayne Evans tallied 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season.
Grandy Glaze collected seven rebounds for SLU, which edged Duquesne 38-37 on the boards.
Mason, who leads the nation in 3-point percentage (.566), was 4-of 5 from beyond the arc and 6-of-7 from the line. He added three assists and three steals.
Duquesne shot 55.6 percent (15-of-27) in the second half and finished the game at 43.6 percent. Saint Louis managed just 40.4 percent overall and 17.4 percent (4-of-23) from 3-point distance.
The Billikens led by four at halftime and were up 33-27 following two Evans layups on consecutive possessions.
After Duquesne narrowed the SLU advantage to 36-35, the Billikens used a Jett drive, a John Manning dunk and another Jett drive to take their largest lead, 42-35, with 13:44 remaining.
The Dukes began their 18-2 outburst in an unusual way, with Mason connecting on a long, desperation 3-pointer that just beat the shot clock. Jones followed with a trey and a layup to put Duquesne ahead 43-42.
Evans responded right away with a layup, but a jumper by McKoy gave Duquesne the lead for good. The Dukes finished the flurry with McKoy’s layup, a Soko free throw, a Jones 3-pointer and a Jones fast-break layup, and it was 53-44 at the 7:41mark.
The Billikens got their offense going again with a McCall Jr. triple, Loe’s three-point play and two McCall Jr. free throws. However, Duquesne answered each time – extending its streak of scoring possessions to 10 – and the Dukes led 59-52 with5:06 to play.
A free throw by Loe with just under a minute left narrowed the gap to 61-57, but that was as close as Saint Louis would get.
Cold shooting by both teams marred the first half. Saint Louis was just 10-of-28 overall (.357) and 1-of-7 from 3-point range, while Duquesne shot 9-of-28 (.321).
An 8-0 run, aided by a four-point possession, allowed Duquesne to turn an 8-5 deficit into a 13-8 lead. McCall Jr. put the finishing touches on an 8-3 Saint Louis spurt with two free throws and a driving layup, and the game was knotted at 16 with9:09 left.
The Dukes matched their largest first-half lead by scoring the next five points, but the Billikens finished the half on a 13-4 run. Loe sank two free throws and nailed a jumper from the right wing, and Jett turned an offensive rebound into a layup to put SLU back on top, 22-21.
After Duquesne briefly regained the lead, Evans knocked down two free throws to put Saint Louis in front for good. Austin McBroom drove for a layup, and Jake Barnett buried SLU’s only first-half 3-pointer with 44 seconds left to give the Bills a 29-25 advantage at the break.
The Billikens are back in action Saturday, March 1, at VCU. Tip time is 5 p.m. (CT), and the game will be televised on ESPN2.