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Mason leads Duquesne over South Carolina State

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Micah Mason scored 20 points and added four assists to help lead Duquesne to an 83-68 win over South Carolina State on Wednesday night.

PITTSBURGH - The senior guard reached the 1,000 point plateau to improve the Dukes to 9-2 on the season.

“I thought we played well on both ends,” Mason said. “The second half we grinded out stops, which helped us a lot.”

Mason, a Highlands graduate who transferred from Drake after his freshman season, ended the night with 1,005 career points, 843 of them with the Dukes. He was 7-12 from the field and 4-8 from behind the arc to go along with his four assists and a steal.

South Carolina State (5-6) came out firing on all cylinders early, hitting their first four shots to build a quick 10-4 lead.

“They actually beat us in the first half doing what we normally do,” head coach Jim Ferry said. “I just felt like we weren’t playing fast enough defensively. I just felt like we were in quicksand.”

After that, the Bulldogs got sloppy, missing seven straight shots, partially because they seemed to go for style over substance, highlighted by a missed layup by Greg Mortimer after he was given a faulty, unnecessary alley-oop pass.

“I wouldn’t say they try to go for style points,” senior forward Jeremiah Jones said. “I think that’s just what their coach tells them to run.”

Duquesne took advantage of their opponent’s lapses, and behind five points, three from free-throws, by sophomore Jordan Robinson, the Dukes took a 23-17 lead with 8:46 left in the half.

From there, Mason and Ed Stephens carried each team’s offense. Mason contributed 10 of his team’s last 11 points before halftime to put the Dukes at 38, but Stephens’ late 3-pointer gave the Bulldogs a 39-38 advantage going into the locker room. Both players ended the half at 12 points.

Jones, who was celebrating his 22nd birthday, took control early on in the second half, highlighting an eight point run in a 1:46 stretch with a dunk to give the Dukes a 46-42 lead with 17:38 remaining.

After Stephens nailed a triple to give the Bulldogs the lead, Mason hit a three to put him at 1,000 career points with 16:37 on the game clock, and the Dukes would not surrender the lead again.

After SC State finally completed an alley-oop play with Darryl Palmer slamming it home, guard Derrick Colter fed TySean Powell his own ball to dunk. Colter would get another dime shortly after by feeding an easy pass to Mason for a lay-up and make it 58-51 Dukes with 13:15 left in the half. Duquesne played with that momentum throughout most of the second half and coasted to the win, never allowing the Bulldogs to pull closer than seven.

"We had three kills and went on a 6-0 run,” Colter said. “Coach maintains ‘keep playing D, keep getting stops and contest all their shots,’ and they couldn’t score at the end.”

Colter ended the night with 18 points and seven assists. Jones had 16 points, while Stephens led SC State with 18.

The Dukes will host Robert Morris University (1-9) Saturday at 2 p.m..

1. Duquesne’s 9-2 record is their best start to a season since 1979-80.

2. The Dukes also won their first six home games for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

3. Duquesne won the battle of the boards, 32-29. They are 8-0 when they outrebound their opponent.

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