Duquesne improves to 5-1 with a win over Alabama State

Duquesne ended a three-game streak in eight days by breaking a 75-57 win over winless Alabama State at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse on Wednesday night, happily sending the Dukes into an extended Thanksgiving Day break with a 5-1 record .

The only loss came in their only road game to date on November 11 at No. 15 in Kentucky.

Since then, Duquesne has notched up home wins over South Carolina State, Colgate and North Florida — the latter a one-point result Monday against point guard buzzer-battering runner Tevin Brewer.

Duquesne will try to get healthier during a five-day period off, leading to a home affair Tuesday night against UC Santa Barbara.

Dae Dae Grant had 23 points, Austin Rotroff hit his first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Duquesne capitalized on a 14-0 second-half run marked by Quincy McGriff’s eight points to tie the pesky state of Alabama (0-6).

The Hornets lost 74-53 to Pitt at the Petersen Events Center on Sunday after leading the Panthers at halftime.

Alabama State, picked for 10th place in the 12-team Southwest Athletic Conference, has been in Pittsburgh since Saturday. They open the season with 12 away games before finally playing their home game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on January 2nd.

Their only non-conference home game against Carver College was cancelled.

Earlier this season, Duquesne has weathered injuries from three big men — 6-foot-8 Joe Reece (ankle), 6-7 RJ Gunn Jr. (foot) and 6-9 freshman Halil Barre (knee), who hasn’t yet to play in a college game.

Additionally, 6-7 Kevin Easley Jr., who needs 135 points to reach 1,000 for his career, is serving an indefinite suspension for a team rules violation, while 6-8 freshman Matus Hronsky was battling an illness and just four played minutes against Alabama State.

McGriff added 11 points for Duquesne, who survived Alabama State’s physical presence in the paint. The Hornets overtook the Dukes 45-37 after starting with a 20-2 advantage.

Duquesne managed 11 blocked shots, including five from 6-9 freshman David Dixon, who started his second career game in place of Reece.

Isaiah Range and Jordan O’Neal led Alabama State by 10 points each. Duquesne held the Hornets’ top scorer TJ Madlock to a season-low nine points in 4-of-14 shooting. Madlock averaged 15.0 points per game.

Dave Mackall is a Tribune Review writer.