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Alex Ducas goes down with back injury as St Mary’s march madness comes to an end

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
The game was stopped as Ducas was helped off the court
Camera IconThe game was stopped as Ducas was helped off the court Credit: (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

St Mary’s Gaels March Madness run has come to an end and it was not the ideal send-off for Alex Ducas’ college career as he went down with a worrying back injury.

The forward was knocked out of Gaels’ second-round NCAA Tournament game against University of Connecticut (UConn) on Sunday with a first-half back injury.

The Australian had to be helped off the court with 4:52 left in the half after going down away from the play.

He was off the ball when he grabbed his back and slowly dropped to the floor as the referee had to stop play as trainers rushed to his aid.

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Saint Mary’s trainers attended to him and he gingerly walked off the court with people supporting him.

He went straight to the locker rooms and though he did return to the bench it was clear he could take no further part as he could not stand up straight and gingerly lowered himself when sitting.

“His back just kind of slipped out of place,” Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett said.

“It’s not the first time it’s happened. He’d done well all season, and he was really starting to play his best basketball. It’s just one of those deals. He didn’t get hit or anything. He just — I don’t know. Sometimes things like that happen.”

“It’s his senior year, and he’s trying to get Sweet 16. It just hurts. Hurts to see that happen to anybody.”

St Mary’s were leading up until Ducas’ injury where he had eight points shooting three from four from the floor before UConn ran away with the match 70-55.

UConn coach Dan Hurley had sympathy for the young star.

“He’s a helluva player. It was sad to see him not being able to play that game out,” he said.

It is unknown at this stage how long term the injury is but is not the way Ducas would have wanted to end what had been a largely successful college career.

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