When a team records 24 fewer rebounds than its opponent, reason necessitates increased production from all parties involved. For Duquesne, even those who produce can improve.
B.J. Monteiro had five rebounds, a third of his team's total of 15, in a 80-69 loss Wednesday night to No. 17 Pitt at Consol Energy Center. No one else had more than three.
"I think right now, what me and B.J. talk about what has to be done, he has to rebound the ball more aggressively and be a better guy on the glass for us," Dukes coach Ron Everhart said.
Duquesne (4-3) lost the 11th consecutive game against the Panthers, who finished with 39 rebounds, 16 on the offensive end. Even when Monteiro, a senior forward, was creating turnovers in the lane or wresting rebounds away from larger players, it was not quite enough.
What the Dukes didn't accomplish on the boards, they made up for with their defensive pressure. They forced 23 turnovers and scored 27 points off them. Monteiro had nine points and added three assists. Sophomore guard T.J. McConnell hit 3 of 4 3-pointers and had four steals to keep Duquesne close, and Sean Johnson finished with 19 points and hit 8 of 9 free throws.
"We don't play teams like them," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "They overplay, they gamble, they'll go for steals in the backcourt."
Rebounding does not come as naturally to a team as small as the Dukes. Their tallest starter is 6-foot-7 Andre Marhold. But Monteiro entered Wednesday averaging 3.5 rebounds per game -- tied with Marhold, but behind the 6-1 McConnell's 5.0.
Monteiro, along with guard Eric Evans, became the senior leaders this season. He no longer works around Bill Clark, the athletic shooter, or Damian Saunders, the lengthy lane presence. Monteiro has started 68 games in his career, more than any other Dukes starter.
"I always try to be a good leader with the guys," Monteiro said. "[Damian] and Bill were great. They weren't really that vocal. I just try to be a vocal leader."
Late in the first half, when the Dukes had trouble scoring, Monteiro took the ball on the baseline, cut inside, spun into the lane and dropped a layup.
Four minutes into the second half, he forced a turnover under Pitt's basket, the first of three consecutive turnovers the Dukes created. Two minutes later, he took a precision pass from Jerry Jones on the baseline for a dunk, then followed it with a rebound on Tray Woodall's missed 3-point attempt. Midway through the second half, he outmuscled Lamar Patterson under the basket and created a possession that ended in a basket.
But he had his struggles as well -- 1 of 3 from the line and a missed open layup when the Dukes were trailing by eight with seven minutes remaining.
"I think at times tonight he got a little frustrated offensively," Everhart said.
Wednesday's game, Monteiro said, can help the Dukes once they enter conference play. "We're small. We're always going to be small. We're a tough team."