After fighting tooth-and-nail, Weber State University’s men’s basketball team beat the Duquesne University Dukes 63–59 on Nov. 15.
The Dukes started hot with a dunk from center Tre Williams coming off an assist from guard Leon Ayers III. Duquesne put on a tight, full-court press early in the match.
When Weber State passed half court, the Dukes protected the perimeter. That didn’t stop Koby McEwen, however, from making a 3-pointer off an assist from guard Jamison Overton.
Five minutes into the game, the Dukes’ star of the night, guard Jackie Johnson III, came off the bench. Johnson started by banking in a 3-pointer. His small size and aggressive play got him to the free-throw line multiple times. Out of Weber State’s 17 fouls, eight were against Johnson.
With under 12 minutes to go in the first quarter, McEwen made a 3-pointer off an assist from guard Seikou Sisoho Jawara. The game reached a four-minute standstill afterward, with WSU trailing 16–12. Free throws from WSU guard Zahir Porter ended the scoreless drought. Seconds after a jumper from center Cody Carlson, Weber State tied up the game with a jam from Porter.
Behind by one, the Dukes responded with an 11–0 run led by Williams, Johnson and guard Kevin Easley. A layup from Carlson off of forward Dillon Jones’ assist ended WSU’s drought. At the half, Duquesne led Weber State 32–23.
Johnson started the second half with a jumper. McEwen responded by hitting a 3-pointer off an assist from Overton, making it an 8-point game.
Johnson put two more on the board for the Dukes, and Weber State went on a 7–0 run. Sisoho Jawara was able to land one assist and one 3-pointer during the two-minute run. A 3-pointer from guard Tyson Acuff off an assist from guard Mike Bekelja ended the Dukes’ drought.
Despite the 3-pointer, WSU still had momentum. Another assist from Sisoho Jawara led to a dunk from Carlson. With the score tied at 39–39, Johnson made two free throws and an inside jumper to give the Dukes the lead again.
McEwen responded to Johnson’s run with a step-back 3-pointer to make it a 1-point game. A drive from Overton put the Wildcats on top, 46–45. Johnson landed a 3-pointer near half court off an assist from guard Toby Okani, putting the Dukes up 48–46.
The game was once again tied at 50–50 after an assist from Overton led to another 3-pointer from McEwen. With seven minutes left, it was still anyone’s game.
This game was won at the line as 9 of WSU’s last 13 points were from foul shots.
With the score 57–52, Johnson made a 3-pointer from the logo. Free throws from guard Amir Spears tied the game up at 3:07. Johnson then racked on 2 more points from the line to give Duquesne the lead.
Sisoho Jawara rallied the Wildcats back with an inside drive resulting in 2 points. A free throw from McEwen put the Wildcats up 60–59. Johnson tried to save the game for the Dukes with a deep 3-point attempt, but he was off target. Jones would then hit the line twice, making three of four shots.
“I was really pleased with our defensive effort and our togetherness,” WSU coach Randy Rahe said. “We played with a lot of toughness against our first Division I opponent.”
McEwen finished the game with 21 points, making all from either the 3-point or the free-throw line. Jones and Carlson both scored double digits, combining for 22. Johnson made 27 of Duquesne’s 59 points. Easley was the only other Duke to score double digits, with 10.
Weber State will play the University of Massachusetts Minutemen on Nov. 18 at 3:30 p.m.