What Duquesne’s coach and players said about facing BYU in the NCAA tournament


The Dukes and Cougars expect “a game of contrasting styles.”

Duquesne’s Dae Dae Grant, front right, lays up the ball ahead of St. Bonaventure’s Mika Adams-Woods during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinal round of the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament Saturday, March 16, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)

The BYU Cougars and Duquesne Dukes haven’t played each other in basketball since they met at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 28, 1953. The game ended in a 69-47 victory for the Dukes.

The two squads may not have been overly familiar with each other before being paired up in the first round of this year’s NCAA tournament. But ahead of Thursday’s game — a 10:40 a.m. MT tip — both teams have been busy scouting.

Here’s what Duquesne coach Keith Lambrot and Dukes players Dae Dae Grant, Jake DiMichele and Jimmy Clark III said about the matchup.

Q. How would you describe what BYU does so well offensively, and what’s going to be the major key for your team as a defense?

KEITH DAMBROT: Well, the closest thing that I have seen to BYU is BCU in our league. Very similar. Three-point oriented, very fluid, challenging because they can stretch you out, but they can also score inside with the big guy. Then the other big guy is a pick-and-pop guy, which puts pressure on you as well. Solid point guard, big and strong.

Obviously an older team. I think their average age is 22.7 or something like that.

The hardest thing about them is they’re mentally tough and physically tough. And everybody talks about their offense, but they’re one of the best defensive teams in the country.

You can tell that Coach Pope has been around Coach Pitino because they play like an Eastern-type team, a tough, hard-nosed basketball team. It’s going to be a challenge, but very similar to some of the teams that we’ve played throughout the year, including like a Richmond, who uses a lot of that dribble-handoff type thing.

We’ve seen a lot of the things that they’ve done. It’s just a matter now of making sure that we’re the tougher team in the game. Because I think that’s probably an underrated thing with Brigham Young is they’re tough and hard-nose and throw forearms into your chest and test your toughness. And I think that’s something people don’t talk a lot about with them.

Q. What should BYU be concerned about about Duquesne?

DAE DAE GRANT: To be honest, man, that would be on them and their scouting report, to be honest. I don’t think I really or we really focus on what they are focusing on for us. We really just game plan to do what we have to do to try and stop them and get our things done.

Shoot, we’re an up-tempo team. We like to defend and be physical as well as try and execute on offense. We have guards that can go as well as guys who can score in the low end and in the post as well. I mean, you could look for all-around aspect. We have guys who can shoot, guard, defend. It will be a fun game, man.

Q. Now that you have had time to look at BYU, … what stands out about their team and the challenges that they pose?

JAKE DIMICHELE: It’s kind of a game of contrasting styles I would say. They’re a very up-tempo team. They like to score the ball at a high rate, and we hang our hat on the defensive end. It should be interesting.

I feel like the key to the game is trying to get them to play our style and not fall into their style of play.

JIMMY CLARK III: I’ll have to say the same thing. You know, just focusing on our style of play. Something that stood out to me about their team was they have a passing five-man. So I feel like, if we can get a couple of deflections in the route, that type of style that they would like to run and get off and run their shooters off the line, I feel like we’ll be good.


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