Dukes Dominate UC Irvine - Duquesne University Athletics
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Tyson Acuff
David DeNoma
UC Irvine Irvine 5-4,0-0 Big West
Duquesne DU 5-7,0-0 Atlantic 10
UC Irvine Irvine
5-4,0-0 Big West
Duquesne DU
5-7,0-0 Atlantic 10
Score By Periods
Team 1 2 F
UC Irvine Irvine 23 31 54
Duquesne DU 38 38 76

Game Recap: Men's Basketball |

Dukes Dominate UC Irvine

Career performances from Ayers III and Acuff lead Dukes to 76-54 win in Akron

AKRON, OHIO - Leon Ayers III scored a career-high 24 points and Tyson Acuff came off the bench to add a career-best 16 in leading Duquesne (5-7) to a convincing 76-54 win over UC Irvine (5-4) on Sunday afternoon at Akron, Ohio St. Vincent-St. Mary LeBron James Arena.

The Dukes, who were the first team to score more than 66 against the Anteaters this season, also got a 12-10 double-double from Kevin Easley Jr.

Toby Okani and Austin Rotroff added eight and seven rebounds respectively for the Dukes, who outrebounded UCI 40-26.

DU, led by a career-high four 3-pointers from Acuff, went 9-of-19 from the 3-point arc against a UC Irvine team that entered the game ranked third nationally in 3-point percentage defense.

There was one tie and three lead changes early before Duquesne ended the first half with a 12-2 run to create some separation.

An Okani corner 3-pointer gave the Dukes their first double digit lead at 31-21 with just under two minutes left in the half.

Rotroff, who scored all six of his points in the first half, followed with a fast break layup and Ayers III hit a shot in the lane. Acuff added his second 3-pointer at the first half horn to make it 38-23.

UCI pulled to within nine on a 3-pointer with just over nine minutes left as Duquesne opened the second half 3-of-13.

Ayers III, who scored 19 in the second half, hit a tough foul line jumper following a DU timeout to move the lead back to double digits.

UCI again cut it to nine and Ayers III answered with a 3-pointer to make it 54-42 at the under eight timeout..

Acuff hit his career-high fourth 3-pointer and Easley Jr. followed with another three to make it 64-47.

The DU lead reached as many as 25 in the closing minutes.

Duquesne completes the non-conference portion of the schedule when it hosts Wofford at UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Dec. 22 at 3:00 p.m. (ESPN+).

  • First-year Mercer transfer Leon Ayers III scored 19 of his career-high 24 points in the second half. Ayers III previous career-best was 23, reached once at Mercer and accomplished twice this season (vs. Bradley and American). Ayers, who went 8-of-8 from the foul line, added six rebounds and four assists.
  • Tyson Acuff hit a career-high four 3-pointers in scoring a career-best 16 points in 23 minutes off the bench. Acuff's previous scoring high was 12 vs. St. Bonaventure at last year's A-10 Championship. His six rebounds were one shy of his career best.
  • Kevin Easley Jr. (12-10) posted his third double-double of the season and fifth of his career.
  • The starting lineup of Kevin Easley Jr., Tre Williams, Leon Ayers III, Jackie Johnson III & Primo Spears was the seventh different combination this season.
  • This was the Dukes' second-ever meeting with a Big West school (DU defeated CSUN, 97-74, in the first round of the Iowa Realty Invitational on the campus of Drake University on Nov. 30, 2007).
  • This was the third time in the past four seasons that the Dukes have played a non-conference game in Akron. DU defeated Radford twice previously (Nov. 17, 2018 at LeBron James Arena & Dec. 14, 2019 at Ellet High School).
  • Duquesne (13) had a streak of five consecutive games with 10 or fewer turnovers snapped.
  • Duquesne's largest lead was 25 at 76-51 with :34 left ... UC Irvine's largest lead was four, at 7-3 ... there was one tie and three lead changes before Kevin Easley Jr. gave the Dukes the lead for good on a put back with 13:30 left in the first half ... UC Irvine led for 3:34 ... Duquesne led for 34:48.

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