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Duquesne fades in second half in 81-74 loss to George Washington

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George Washington rallied from a 13-point second half deficit to beat Duquesne 81-74 despite a 26-point performance from Micah Mason.

PITTSBURGH - It’s the third game in a row the Dukes have blown a double-digit second half lead.

“Right now, we don’t have that edge to get wins,” senior guard Micah Mason said.

Mason had 26 points and Derrick Colter racked up 18 for the two best offensive performances of the night for the Dukes (15-11, 5-8). Kevin Larsen had 16 points and 12 boards for the Colonials (19-7, 8-5).

Duquesne picked up where they left off against Davidson, struggling on defense to go with an anemic attack. The Colonials built a quick 8-2 advantage three and a half minutes in thanks in part to two easy offensive rebounds and layups by Tyler Cavanaugh.

But the Dukes roared back, led by their senior backcourt. Colter went into the half with 10 points, and Mason’s NBA three with 3:35 to play gave him 14 and the Dukes a 31-26 lead. At the first buzzer, the Dukes led 38-31.

The second half started promising, with Colter notching five quick points and Mason hitting a layup to make it 45-32 with 17:29 left to play. That’s when the Colonials went to a run and jump court defense, neutralizing the guards throughout most of the second half, and Duquesne’s other starters couldn’t come through.

“I’m not going to call any of my kids out, but some of the secondary scorers struggled shooting the basketball today,” head coach Jim Ferry said.

Forwards Eric James and L.G. Gill combined to shoot 3-12 from the field in the second half and 1-7 from three. The stagnant offense allowed the Colonials to go on a 10-0 run to pull within three before tying it at 53 with 9:54 left to play. Yuta Watanabe hit a three with just under seven minutes to go to make it 58-55 George Washington and give the Colonials the lead for good.

Duquesne and GW traded punches from there, and a Josh Steel three from the corner made it a three point game again at 71-68 with 1:36 to play. Duquesne had failed to get the a big stop down the stretch, but still had a chance to tie with a stop and a bucket. Larsen had other plans, sinking his only triple with 1:08 to go to make it a six point game again. The Colonials would make their next seven free-throw attempts to ice the win.

“You gotta learn how to win. You gotta learn how to pull out these games...especially at home,” Ferry said.

Duquesne will travel to Rhode Island Saturday for a 7 p.m. tip-off. This is the only time the two conference foes will face each other this season.

1. Mason recorded his fifth straight 20 point game. Ovie Soko was the last Duke to log a streak that long back in 2014.

2. George Washington shot 38.7 percent in the first half and 52 percent in the second half.

3. George Washington’s bench outscored Duquesne’s 23-6.

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