Keith Dambrot, Duquesne stun BYU for first NCAA Tournament win since 1969

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Keith Dambrot and his Duquesne Dukes aren’t done dancing yet. With a 71-67 win over No. 6 seed BYU on Thursday for the first upset of the 2024 NCAA Tournament, it looks like the 11th-seeded squad is just getting started.

The stunning victory came three days after Dambrot, who has led the Dukes since 2017 and was LeBron James’ high school coach, announced his plans to retire at the end of the season.

“They just don’t want me to retire, I guess,” Dambrot said postgame. “I’m trying to get to the promised land, and they’re making me keep coaching.”

In his final season, Dambrot guided Duquesne to the Atlantic 10 championship and the program’s first NCAA Tournament bid since 1977. The Dukes’ last tournament win came on March 15, 1969 over St. John’s in an East Regional third-place game. There were only 25 teams in the tournament in 1969, which ended with John Wooden winning his fifth title with UCLA.

Against the Cougars, Dae Dae Grant led Duquesne with 19 points while Fousseyni Drame paced the team with eight rebounds. Jakub Necas, who averages 2.3 points and 1.8 rebounds per game, contributed 12 points off the bench.

The Dukes’ defense was suffocating, giving the Cougars virtually no space to shoot. The Cougars went 22-of-57 from field-goal range. Jaxson Robinson was BYU’s leading scorer with 25 points.

Duquesne started the game with a 17-7 run, and briefly held a 14-point advantage early in the second half. The Dukes maintained their lead throughout the game, except for a one-point BYU lead at 20-19 and a quick 60-all tie with 1:45 to play.

At least one No. 11 seed has won a first-round game in the NCAA Tournament every year since 2005. By eking out the win, Duquesne continues the streak.

The Dukes will next play the winner of No. 3 Illinois versus No. 14 Morehead State. That game is slated for Thursday at 3:10 p.m. ET.

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(Photo: Jamie Squire/  Getty Images)

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