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La Salle pulls away in second half to defeat Duquesne 71-63

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Soko scores a game-high 23 in losing effort

PHILADELPHIA - Steve Zack scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half as La Salle snapped a three-game losing streak with a 71-63 win over Duquesne at Tom Gola Arena.

Zack, who added a game-high 16 rebounds, was one of five Explorers (12-9, 4-3) in double figures.

Ovie Soko scored a game-high 23 for Duquesne (10-10, 2-5), which saw a two-game win streak snapped. Tra'Vaughn White added 13 points - all of which came in the second half - for DU.

Zack scored six in the first three minutes of the second half to up a two-point Explorers' halftime lead to 35-27. Sam Mills, who scored 10, pushed the lead to 13 on the first of his three second half 3-pointers. Mills' 3-pointer capped a 16-5 half-opening run as the Dukes made just two of their first 12 shots.

"They're big and physical around the basket," said Duquesne coach Jim Ferry. "They took away our driving lanes. When we're attacking, we're sort of used to getting fouled, so we don't hit those dry spells. If we're not making baskets, usually the score is changing because we're making free throws. We've got to make layups and free throws if we're going to beat this team here."

The Explorer lead would reach 15 on two occasions before the Dukes cut it to eight just before the final horn.

Duquesne, which finished with one fewer field goal and one more 3-pointer than La Salle, was outscored 16-9 from the foul line. It was the first time this season that the Dukes, who entered the game averaging 27.9 free throw attempts per game, attempted fewer free throws (9-of-12) than their opponent made (16-of-21).

"They beat us tonight the way we usually beat people," said Ferry. "They made one more basket than us and we lose the game by eight because we didn't get to the foul line tonight. Give credit to them. They did a good job of guarding us."

La Salle, which outshot Duquesne .381 to .359, had a 47-38 advantage on the glass in outscoring DU 30-22 in the paint.

Tyrone Garland, who finished with 11, scored all eight of his first half points in the final 3:02 to give La Salle a 27-25 lead at the half. The two-point margin was La Salle's largest. Micah Mason, who finished with 9 points, hit all three of his 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes for the Dukes whose largest lead was six.

Duquesne returns to action on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at George Washington.

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