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Mason leads Duquesne over New Orleans

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Micah Mason lit up the AJ Palumbo Center for a career-high 28 points to lead ‪Duquesne‬ over New Orleans 95-75 Monday night at the AJ Palumbo Center.

PITTSBURGH - “I found a rhythm early,” Mason said. “The last couple games I had not as many baskets in the first half. I played better in the second half, but today I found my rhythm early.”

Derrick Colter scored 15 and had seven assists in the contest, and forward Jeremiah Jones added 12 points and two steals.

Duquesne handled the Privateers’ defense early, mostly due to their senior backcourt. Micah Mason drained a trio of three-pointers in the first seven minutes and fed Colter a dime on his bucket from behind to arc to make it 21-7 with 12:48 to play in the half. The guards combined for 24 points early, with Mason posting a baker’s dozen. Rene Castro, another Duke guard, also made noise in the first half, adding nine points, five of them from the line.

“Every time you keep the ball moving, the defense has got to scramble,” Colter said. “That’s how we got open shots, and Micah made them today.”

Michael Zeno lead the New Orleans’ attack with seven points at halftime, but Duquesne doubled their opponent’s first half totals at the midway point, leading 54-27. The Dukes shot 70.4 percent from the field while holding New Orleans to just 28.6 percent.

“I think we played one of the best first halves of basketball since I’ve been here,” head coach Jim Ferry said. “I thought we were phenomenal defensively.”

Like their game Friday night, Duquesne’s defense was sloppy at the start of the second period. The Privateers posted 15 points in just over six minutes of the half, thanks in part to four points from Zeno, but it barely made a dent into the Dukes’ lead, cutting it to 65-42.

New Orleans continued to slowly chip-away at the lead, getting within 20 a couple times, until Mason took control of the game again, sinking two threes and adding an assist in a 39 second span to extend the lead back to 27, 81-54, with 7:47 remaining. Duquesne was able to coast from that point on to the big win.

“He was in a good rhythm and a good groove, so we just kept feeding the hot hand,” Colter said.

The Dukes ended the night shooting 61.5 percent from the field, 48.3 percent from behind the arc and 68 percent from the line. New Orleans ended the night at 40.7, 41.7 and 61.1, respectively, with Zeno ending with 23 points. Rebounds were even at 32 each.

Duquesne will move to the Consol Energy Center Friday night to take on Penn State at 7 p.m..

1. Mason’s six three-pointers tied a career high. He also sank his 200th career three and now stands at 201.

2. The Dukes had 25 assists on 32 field goals.

3. Mason had four first half assists. New Orleans combined for four in the first half.

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