Duquesne upsets BYU for first NCAA tourney win in 55 years

By Thomson Reuters Mar 21, 2024 | 8:29 PM

Dae Dae Grant scored 19 points and Duquesne picked up its first NCAA Tournament victory since 1969 by knocking off BYU 71-67 on Thursday afternoon in East Region first-round play at Omaha, Neb.

Jakub Necas added 12 points, six assists and three blocked shots and Jimmy Clark III tallied five of his 11 points in the final 88 seconds as the 11th-seeded Dukes (25-11) won their ninth consecutive game. The contest was Duquesne’s first in the NCAA Tournament since the Norm Nixon-led team played in the 1977 tourney.

Duquesne’s victory keeps Keith Dambrot’s coaching career going for at least one more game. The 65-year-old Dambrot announced his retirement on Monday.

“They didn’t want to me to retire, I guess,” Dambrot said. “I’m trying to get to the promised land and they’re making me keep coaching. Our guys played exactly how they had to do in order to win the game. Keep the score down. They are a load on offense. It was a battle all game long.”

Jaxson Robinson scored 25 points off the bench for the sixth-seeded Cougars (23-11). Spencer Johnson had 11 points and 16 rebounds, while Fousseyni Traore and Dallin Hall each scored 11 points for BYU.

The Dukes will face No. 3 seed Illinois in Saturday’s second round. The Fighting Illini defeated Morehead State 85-69 in the first round.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Grant said. “We couldn’t have done this without each other and our brotherhood. We’re really appreciative of the moment and just trying to live in it and advance.”

Traore scored back-to-back baskets to knot the score at 60-60 with 1:48 remaining. The second hoop, on a dunk, was the game’s first tie since 0-0.

Clark made two free throws with 1:28 left to put the Dukes ahead. Clark split two free throws with 49.9 seconds to give Duquesne a three-point edge and added a layup with 26.9 seconds remaining to make it 65-60.

Hall scored BYU’s next seven points, including a 3-pointer to trim the Duquesne lead to 69-67 with 5.7 seconds remaining.

Grant then sank two free throws with 4.3 seconds left to wrap up the victory.

Duquesne shot 46.4 percent from the field, including 7 of 18 from 3-point range. Clark had four steals for the Dukes.

The Cougars made 38.6 percent of their attempts from the field and were 8 of 24 from behind the arc.

“Just a devastating day for us for sure, and it’s devastating because we lost, devastating because we won’t move on, and most devastating because we won’t get in the gym together again,” BYU head coach Mark Pope said.

Jake DiMichele drilled a 3-pointer to give the Dukes a 46-32 lead with 16:53 remaining before BYU rallied.

The Cougars began with a 10-2 run in which Traore’s layup allowed them to move within 48-42 with 11:24 to play.

A short time later, Robinson buried a 3-pointer and added a layup 43 seconds later as BYU cut Duquesne’s lead to 52-49 with 7:49 left. Traore followed with two free throws to make it a one-point deficit with 6:06 remaining.

Grant scored 12 first-half points as Duquesne led 38-30 at the break. Robinson had 13 in the half for BYU.

The Dukes started fast by scoring the first nine points and 12 of the first 14. The Cougars missed their first seven field-goal attempts.

BYU used an 18-7 burst to take a 20-19 lead on Robinson’s 3-pointer with 7:25 left in the half. But the Cougars’ only lead of the game lasted for just 29 seconds as DiMichele drained a 3-pointer for Duquesne to start a 14-1 run.

–Field Level Media