Keith Dambrot likes to smile, have enjoyable, inform a couple of jokes.
However he’d be the primary to take situation with any Duquesne fan within the crowd of seven,001 who left PPG Paints Area on Wednesday night time feeling good concerning the Dukes’ 73-69 loss to No. 7 Dayton.
The sport become compelling theatre when Duquesne (15-5, 5-Three Atlantic 10) rallied from 19- and 11-point deficits within the second half to path, 71-69, within the last 34 seconds.
One downside, although: Duquesne ended up shedding to swell its shedding streak to a few.
“I’m by no means going to be pleased when followers are pleased with a loss at house,” he mentioned. “To ensure that us to take the following step, we will’t lose to Dayton at house. I don’t care in the event that they’re No. 7 within the nation.
“Simply since you play shut doesn’t imply you’re able to take the following step,” mentioned Dambrot, employed two years in the past to win championships (not lose 3 times in a single week’s time). “We performed shut, however what does that imply? We’ll discover out the following recreation and the following recreation and the following recreation.”
The dilemma dealing with Dambrot earlier than the Dukes meet La Salle on Sunday is that this:
Does he congratulate his gamers for the comeback towards one of many nation’s high groups? Or, does he work them more durable in observe so the following time, they end the job?
“How do you get guys to be emotionally engaged (for all the recreation)? Do you brow-beat them into it? Do you therapeutic massage them into it?” he requested.
Junior heart Michael Hughes might need the reply. Hughes didn’t begin for the primary time this season, however he nonetheless led the group with 19 factors in 31 minutes.
“I like Mike Hughes and my obligation is to ensure I’m mum or dad,” Dambrot mentioned, explaining Hughes’ transient benching. “That is greater than basketball.”
However Hughes additionally grabbed six offensive rebounds and made 4 steals. He appeared to point he wouldn’t thoughts slightly brow-beating.
“Take it to the drafting board, observe more durable than we ever have earlier than and end out this factor and attempt to make it particular,” he mentioned.
Dambrot wasn’t completely displeased with the sport, declaring his group’s battle and admitting his group “confirmed what we’re able to.”
“You must give our guys credit score,” he mentioned. “We obtained smacked within the mouth, knocked down, wobbled 35 occasions after which got here again and made it a recreation. Which after what they’ve been via (back-to-back losses at Rhode Island and Massachusetts), you don’t know what you’re going to get.”
Marcus Weathers, who scored 17 factors with eight rebounds, gave credit score to backup guard Tavian Dunn-Martin, who added 14 factors with 4 3-pointers.
“He gave us nice power,” Weathers mentioned. “He got here into the huddle actually fired up. He was telling all people in huddle we weren’t going to lose this recreation by 20 factors. We had been simply going to exit combating, and we had been going to dwell with the tip consequence.”
Duquesne’s battle was lacking early within the second half when the Dukes went from an eight-point halftime deficit to 19 within the gap in eight minutes.
“From the soar within the second half, we must always have been prepared,” Weathers mentioned. “I couldn’t even inform you why we began off so gradual. It simply occurred.”
A part of the explanation was the Dukes had no reply for Dayton’s 6-foot-9, 220-pound sophomore Obi Toppin, who recorded a double-double with 22 factors, eight rebounds and 4 dunks. Projected to be a first-round NBA Draft alternative this 12 months, he was a dominant power for a lot of the sport. He hit two essential free throws with 15 seconds left to seal Dayton’s 10th consecutive victory.
However he additionally dedicated 5 of Dayton’s 17 turnovers and couldn’t forestall Duquesne from grabbing 15 offensive rebounds.
That’s the half Dambrot preferred.
“We’ve sufficient to be good on sure nights,” he mentioned.
However have they got sufficient to make a run via the postseason?
“We’ve sufficient toughness and sufficient edge and sufficient measurement that if we simply get slightly extra constant, it may very well be this 12 months,” he mentioned.
“Actually, that’s on me. “We’ve to observe higher. We’ve to be extra constant. We confirmed what we’ve got to do to have success. We simply have to enhance. That’s all. A part of that’s being much less emotional and extra mature.”
Dambrot praised Dayton (19-2, 8-0) for having gamers who’re “constantly mature.”
“After we get to that time, we’ll be able to win championships.”
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Overview workers author. You may contact Jerry by electronic mail at [email protected] or through Twitter .