Skip to main content


Grant hits clutch shots late to help No. 11 Duquesne upset No. 6 BYU

Dae Dae Grant Duquesne Dae Dae Grant - The Canadian Press

OMAHA, Neb. -- — Dae Dae Grant scored 19 points, including four clinching free throws in the final 10 seconds, and No. 11 seed Duquesne kept retiring coach Keith Dambrot working for a little bit longer with a 71-67 victory against sixth-seeded BYU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.

Jakub Necas added 12 points and Jimmy Clark III had 11 as the Atlantic 10 tourney champs celebrated their return to the dance after 47 years with their first win there since 1969. The Dukes (25-11) advanced to play third-seeded Illinois or No. 14 seed Morehead State for a spot in the Sweet 16 on Saturday.

“They just don’t want me to retire,” Dambrot said. "I’m trying to get to the promised land, and they’re making me keep coaching.”

The Cougars (23-11) trailed by as many as 14 in the second half before drawing even when Fousseyni Traore, who had struggled all game, slammed down the second of back-to-back baskets to knot the game at 60-all with 1:45 to go.

Clark was fouled at the other end and made two free throws for Duquesne, and when Traore missed a floater, he got to the foul line again. Clark only made the first of two foul shots but was able to help tie up a loose ball after the second, and on the ensuing play, he broke down the defense for a layup and a 65-60 lead with 26.9 seconds left.

Dallin Hall tried to give the Cougars a chance with four free throws and a deep 3-pointer in the final 20 seconds, but Grant — one of the nation's best foul shooters — was stoic from the free-throw line in sending the Dukes to the next round.

"Bust them brackets, baby! Bust them brackets, baby!” Clark roared as Duquesne headed back to the locker room.

Jaxson Robinson had 25 points for the Cougars, who have lost five straight in the NCAA Tournament, the last four of them to double-digit seeds. Traore and Spencer Johnson added 11 points apiece. Hall finished with 11 points.

The Cougars were bloodied and bumming for most of the game.

Hall took a shot to the face that left him with tissues shoved up his bleeding nostrils. Richie Saunders got an elbow to the midsection that left him doubled over on the floor. Spencer Johnson even lost a shoe while playing defense, and the Dukes took advantage of the opening for a dunk that helped them build a big early lead.

“We made them work for everything they got,” Dambrot said.

Robinson, voted the top backup in the Big 12 this season, tried to keep the Cougars afloat with 12 first-half points, but Necas — averaging a mere 2.3 a game — countered with eight of his own to help Duquesne take a 38-30 lead at the break.

The pressure of the NCAA Tournament boiled over in the opening minutes of the second half.

The Dukes' Fousseyni Drame got tied up with the Cougars' Noah Waterman on a rebound and both went to the floor, where they started to wrestle as official Pat Driscoll leaped between them. Driscoll was shaken up and both players got technical fouls.

Turned out the game would be a fight all the way to the finish.

“That little scuffle showed everything we're about. We're going to compete at a very high level," Dambrot said. "We're going to compete and make teams earn every bit of the court.”


Duquesne lost in the first round of its past two NCAA Tournament appearances in 1971 and '77, making the win its first since there was still a third-place game in 1969. Now, the Dukes will face Illinois or Morehead State on their postseason march.


AP March Madness bracket: and coverage: