PITTSBURGH – T.J. McConnell scored 18 points and Duquesne held Saint Louis without a basket for 14 minutes while turning a four-point deficit into a 19-point lead before going on to 67-45 victory on Wednesday night, its fifth in a row.
Saint Louis (5-11, 0-3 Atlantic 10), which lost its sixth straight, led 25-21 with 2:46 left in the first half following 3-pointers by Cody Ellis and Kyle Cassity. The Billikens then were held to a single free throw, by Brian Conklin, while falling behind 45-26 until Jordair Jett scored with 8:45 remaining.
Duquesne (10-5, 2-0), which had lost three of its previous four to Saint Louis, scored 15 of the final 21 points to end the first half, then started the second half with a 16-1 run. McConnell scored twice during that surge and made a no-look pass to Damian Saunders that led to a three-point play.
Saunders and Sean Johnson added 11 points each for the Dukes, who couldn't play their preferred up-tempo style because of the Billikens' deliberate pace on offense, yet didn't have much trouble adjusting. Despite being held 14 points below their 81.2-point scoring average, the Dukes improved to 6-1 at home.
Ellis had all 10 of his points in the first half for the Billikens, who came in without a single player averaging double figures on a team that averages only 62.2 points.
Saint Louis, missing its two leading scorers from last season and coach Rick Majerus, managed to lure the Dukes into a half-court game that played to the Billikens' strengths. For a while.
Majerus missed his third consecutive game with an infected left leg.
Duquesne, averaging 92.8 points per game on its home court, trailed 13-9 midway through the first half before finally getting comfortable with the slowed-down tempo.
Saint Louis, which missed all seven of its 3-point attempts in a 57-53 loss Sunday at No. 19 Temple, hit three from beyond the arc while opening first-half leads of as many as five points. But McConnell hit a 3-pointer and a pair of baskets as Duquesne came back to take a 29-25 halftime lead.
The Billikens finished 6 of 19 on 3s while shooting 37 percent overall (17 of 46) — even while leading 34-33 in rebounding. But they committed 20 turnovers to Duquesne's seven. Jett committed seven turnovers and didn't have an assist.
The Billikens, 0-5 on the road, remain without preseason all-Atlantic 10 players Kwamain Mitchell and Willie Reed, who are under suspension.