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Dukes lose seventh straight

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Duquesne fell to St. Louis, 73-64, to fall to 0-5 in A-10 play. Junior forward Jerry Jones led the Dukes with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Duquesne (7-12, 0-5 A-10) ran with the Saint Louis Billikens (13-5, 2-2) Wednesday evening at the A.J. Palumbo Center, but the Billikens’ collective veteran experience proved too much for the inexperienced Dukes to handle down the stretch. A slew of turnovers and lackadaisical defensive possessions at the expense of Duquesne allowed St. Louis to score 21 points in the game’s final seven minutes, and St. Louis took home a 73-64 victory.

Despite its inexperience, the Dukes held fast with St. Louis over the duration of the game, and were tied with the Billikens at 55 all with just over four minutes remaining. From there, however, a 14-1 run by St. Louis sealed Duquesne’s fate.

“That’s what continues to happen to us,” head coach Jim Ferry said referencing St. Louis’ run.

In this case in particular, the Billikens amped up defensive pressure and took advantage of missed opportunities by Duquesne to pull away and take home the victory. 

“That’s a great defensive team, and they really stepped up their pressure. Those empty possessions really hurt us,” Ferry said. “We had a couple of missed 3's that were open, we had a couple of turnovers, we had a missed lay-up—all those little things. Our margin of error, again, is so small and it was glaring again in this stretch.

“I think that’s the difference of an experienced team really understanding how to win compared to an inexperienced team that is putting so much pressure on themselves,” Ferry said.

As a result of the intense pressure, the Dukes began to rush on the offensive end which contributed heavily to their missed opportunities in the game’s final minutes.

“We rushed our shots, we were rushing the plays,” freshman point guard Derrick Colter—who finished with 13 points and four assists—said. “They were over-denying the ball so we had to try and find the openings and then we kept making turnovers, and we weren’t boxing out. That’s critical to this game.”

Another glaring difference in the game came at the foul line, where the Dukes shot just 9-19, a 47.4 percent mark. Conversely, St. Louis ended up at 71.8 percent on the evening, making 28 of its 39 attempts from the charity stripe.

“They beat us at our philosophy. We made more field goals than they did and lost the game,” Ferry said. “But when you put somebody at the foul line 40 times, and you miss 10, they beat us at our philosophy.

“You can’t miss 10 free throws at home and expect to beat a team as good as St. Louis.”

Junior forward Jerry Jones, who put up his first career double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds Wednesday, said the Dukes just fouled the wrong people.

“I’d say the fouls hurt us [the most],” Jones said. “I thought tonight we fouled the wrong people. One of the guys shot 90 percent from the line and he kept going to the free throw line and I think that had a lot to do with [the loss].”

Specifically, the wrong person was Cody Ellis who came off St. Louis’ bench to score a team-high 16 points but shot only 2-7 from the field. The bulk of his points came off a 11-12 performance at the free throw line.

Alongside Ellis, Dwayne Evans added 14, pre-season All-A10 selection Kwamain Mitchell scored 11and doled out a game-high six assists, and Jordair Jett finished with 10 points.

On a brighter side for Ferry as he continues Year One of rebuilding the Duquesne Basketball program, was the way the Dukes responded to the challenge of playing another top Atlantic-10 team after taking one on the chin Saturday against Virginia Commenwealth.

“That was a tough loss, our guys are really down right now,” Ferry said. “It’s going to be our job to pick them up because after totally getting overwhelmed on Saturday, we challenged [the players] and I thought they responded a little bit, showed some character.”

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