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Dukes squander chance at upset

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Duquesne had a chance to knock off Pitt in the City Game

PITTSBURGH, PA - At first glance, seeing Pitt win by 14 points should not be the much of surprise for Dukes fans. This is, after all, the 14th straight time Pitt has won.

However, this game was much closer than the scoreboard would indicate, and the more talented team may have lost.

Duquesne’s problem was that they seemed intimidated early and changed their game to try to match Pitt. After taking four early shots in the corner and missing three, Duquesne panicked and abandoned the deep ball. The Dukes tried to win with their big men, hurting their 3-point game, which has been the bread and butter for this team all season.

And even though they went to their big men, and the Panthers have a glaring weakness in teh paing, Pitt’s bigs still played bigger than Duquesne’s. Pitt has two starting forwards listed at 6’9” and another at 6’7”. Duquesne’s tallest starting forward, L.G. Gill, is 6’7. The other two are 6’6” and 6’3”. That eight inch difference gave Pitt the advantage they needed.

Joseph Uchebo started dominating on the glass for Pitt, picking up four offensive rebounds and eight of PItt’s first 15 points. His previous career high for points in a game: two. He was not shooting well, and most of those rebounds were off of his own failed putbacks, but Duquesne decided that they didn’t want the greenhorn to beat them. They went to the bench, and the offense became stagnant for three quarters of the game.

If you look at the stats, Duquesne was able to hang around with Pitt in almost every offensive category: rebounds (45-37 Pitt), points in the paint (26-24 Pitt) and second chance points (14-14). But Pitt was able to shoot better with their forwards, and it made the difference.

This was a game that the Dukes could have won. Pitt made a lot of mistakes on both sides of the ball. The offense shot around 40 percent from the field for most of the game and barely over 50 percent from the line until late. Pitt’s attack did not produce for most of the game, only really picking up in the last 10 minutes when both teams went into shootout mode and were matching each other shot for shot. 

And when Duquesne was able to make it a two-possession game late, they did it with Derrick Colter, Jordan Stevens, and the 3-point shot.

The Dukes could have conceded the game in the paint and bombard the Panthers with shots from beyond the arc. That’s how they have won this year. Instead, they tried to play like a team they weren’t, and it cost them the upset.

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