PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Duquesne jumped out to a quick 12-0 lead Saturday afternoon and was never threatened by the ACU Wildcats as the Dukes knocked off ACU, 94-75, in the Wildcats' men's basketball season-opener and first game as an NCAA Division I member at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
Ovie Soko – a senior forward from London, England – scored six of the Dukes' first 12 points as they jumped out to a quick double-digit lead. ACU's first points of the game came at the 15:34 mark of the first half on a Julian Edmonson jumper.
"We've got so many new guys and some young guys, and it showed today," third-year ACU head coach Joe Golding said. "We had open looks in the opening minutes of the game, but we just couldn't knock them down. If we had made a few of those and gotten ourselves calmed down we might have been able to keep it closer.
"When we didn't score, we started panicking and taking quick shots, and that let them get out and run, which is what they want to do," Golding said. "We can't play like that, and that's what Duquesne was able to do (Saturday)."
After the Wildcats got on the board, they would not be able to get closer than the original 12-point deficit. Duquesne's largest lead of the first half was 27 points (54-27) with 53 seconds left in the first half when Soko converted a three-point play with a layup and a free throw.
ACU got the final two points of the first half on a pair of free throws by Harrison Hawkins to make it a 54-29 game at halftime.
Duquesne – a member of the Atlantic-10 Conference coming off an 8-22 season in 2012-13 – hit 7 of 19 3-point attempts in the game and out-rebounded the Wildcats, 42-33.
ACU did win the second half, outscoring the Dukes 46-40 as they settled down a bit and were able to knock down some open looks.
"I'm proud of our guys for fighting," Golding said. "I'm not proud of losing by 19 points because none of us signed up for that. But we're just getting started with this thing, so like it or not, that's where we are.
"We've got to get better in film session (Saturday night), in practice Sunday and hopefully that carries over to how we play Monday night at St. Bonaventure," he said.
Hawkins led all scorers with 26 points, while Edmonson had 15 points and Austin Cooke 13 for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats will return to action Monday at 6 p.m. (Abilene time) when they take on St. Bonaventure.
Information provided by ACU athletics department.
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