It got dicey for about 12 minutes tonight.
But Duquesne held on to beat Fordham 77-67 with the help of a career high 30 points by B.J. Monteiro.
The Dukes saw a 17-point halftime lead just about evaporate when the Rams closed within one point - 57-56 - with 11:24 to play.A key timeout seemed to help the Dukes get it together defensively to come out and get a few stops before T.J. McConnell hit a pair of 3's and the Dukes pulled out the win.
- Monteiro finished with 30 points, eight rebounds
- McConnell scored 13, had seven rebounds, six assists and five steals.
- Duquesne is now 15-10, 6-5 in the Atlantic 10 and travels to Temple on Saturday. That is going to be a tough one.
Monteiro was really the story of the night with 23 points in the first half until the team's lead nearly evaporated stealing his thunder.
Everhart: "I told our guys at halftime that Fordham was good and they were going to come out and shoot it a lot better. They did in the second half. We anticipated that, but I wish we would’ve guarded them a little bit better the first 12 minutes.
"They're a good ballclub. I was really proud of how our guys responded. We finally started to defend a little better, rebound it, get out in the open floor and get a couple easy ones."
One other notable thing to come out of tonight was the small crowd at the A.J. Palumbo Center listed as 2,517.
The Penguins were playing at home just a few blocks away. It was a Wednesday night - two things that certainly can be considered factors.
But regardless, that had to have been one of the worst/smallest of the season, and you have to wonder what kind of an impact that has on a team?
Especially a team that's been up and down and fighting to stay in the A-10 race.
The student sections behind the baskets seemed particularly bare.
(I attempted to count the number of students at one point during a timeout - and got to somewhere just around 50 when I realized some might have be sprinkled in the main sections, and if so, I'd have no way of knowing who was or wasn't a student.)
Asked Coach Everhart about this after the game, mostly out of curiosity, and he said he preaches to the team that they can't let those outside factors have an impact.
"We don’t play in the bleachers," he said. "It's just one of those things. Pens play tonight. It's one of those things. Again, you know, hey just because there weren't a lot of people in the stands it didn't diminish the importance of this game for us or our A-10 aspirations."
As contrast, what a great environment it was when Richmond was in town for the Chuck Cooper Classic.
The place was packed, everyone was in red t-shirts, and you could see the team feed off it.