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Duquesne tops Texas-Pan Am

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Six Dukes scored in double figures as Duquesne fought off a late rally by UT Pan American to win 78-72 Tuesday at the A.J. Palumbo Center.

PITTSBURGH, PA - The six double-digit scorers were the most for Duquesne since 2011.

The Dukes’ starting frontcourt rebounded after having a bad game against Maryland Eastern Shore on Sunday, and senior Dominique McKoy and sophomore Darius Lewis combined to go 9-10 from the field with 23 points.

“I feel like our frontcourt (hasn’t) been playing like we should,” McKoy said. “Our forwards wanted to step up.”

The Dukes had trouble hanging onto the ball early, committing 5 turnovers with in the first eight minutes while forcing none, allowing UTPA to take an early 17-12 lead. But the Dukes cut down on their mistakes soon after that and give themselves extra opportunities by grabbing rebounds. The Dukes snagged 12 boards, including four offensive, in the first 11 minutes while UTPA was only able to get four. Duquesne, behind a hot shooting stretch from McKoy, started a back-and-forth battle with the Broncs throughout most of the half.

In the first, the score was tied five times and the lead changed on six occasions, but behind McKoy’s nine points and junior guard Derrick Colter’s 11, five of which were from the line, the Dukes were able to go into halftime ahead 41-34. Duquesne hit 56 percent of their shots from the field in the first half while holding the Broncs to just 37 percent. Duquesne also was able to outscore the opposition in the paint 18-8.

One of the biggest impacts came from Lewis, who made his first career start. Lewis scored 8 points in the first half and ended the game with 11 and five blocks, both career highs.

“It felt really good (to get my first start),” Lewis said. “I’ve been working really hard and being more aggressive when I get in the game. Coach finally gave me a chance.”

One of the biggest surprises offensively for Duquesne was junior guard Micah Mason, who was shut out in the first half.  He opened the second half with a 3-pointer, setting the pace for him in the half, as he would score a team high 14 points. The Dukes continued to slowly build their lead, extending it to 11 with 11 minutes left.

The Broncs did not go down quietly, and after Jordan Stevens fed TySean Powell a perfect alley-oop to extend the Dukes lead to 68-59 with just over four minutes left, Shaquille Hines started to carry UTPA’s offense, making several buckets to pull the Broncs within 3 with 1:50 remaining.

The Dukes went back to their playmaker in Mason, and after a jumper and a layup, Duquesne rebuilt their lead to 72-65 with 50 seconds remaining. The Broncs continued to hang in there late, and after forward Janari Joesaar’s layup, UTPA was down by just 3 with 24 seconds remaining. But Mason came through at the line, and after hitting all four of his free throw attempts down the stretch, the Dukes were able to hold off the comeback.

The Broncs’ had big nights from Joesaar and Shaquille Hines, who scored 22 and 20 points respectively.

McKoy, Colter, Lewis, Mason, Powell and Stevens all ended up with at least 11 points, and McKoy fell a board short of a double-double. Duquesne, after being held to just seven free-throw attempts on Sunday, went 21-27 from the line, and held UTPA to just 38 percent from the field. Although the Dukes won the battle of the boards 40-27, they turned the ball over 22 times while only forcing seven.

Head coach Jim Ferry says this game is a step in the right direction, but the team is still a work in progress.

“We will be better in February, we will get better every single day, and that will be our focus,” Ferry said.

Duquesne will be opening up their Atlantic-10 conference play Saturday at 1 p.m. at Dayton, who reached the Elite Eight last year in the NCAA Tournament.

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