It was Déjà vu all over again for Duquesne.
After leading by as many as 16 in the second half, the game began to slip away from the Dukes as UT Martin slowly crept back into the game, tying the game at 63 with 3:13 remaining. The teams traded misses until the Skyhawks Jacolby Mobley drained a three pointer at the buzzer to complete the comeback 66-63.
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It was the second straight loss at home in the final seconds for Duquesne, who fell to Canisius last Friday 78-77. The Dukes drop to 2-4 on the year while UT Martin goes to 5-1.
Within seconds of the game’s conclusion, Coach Jim Ferry was hot on the refs, screaming that an offensive foul should have been called on Mobley.
“From my angle it looked like a complete push off to get the shot off,” Ferry said.
Regardless of the finish, he was not pleased with his team’s play in the final minutes.
“It was all predicated on us losing our aggressiveness,” Ferry said. “We missed 14 of our last 15 shots. We became passive. We were aggressive all game breaking their press against all their zones and then all of sudden in the last 4 minutes we decided to hold the ball and slow things down and play passive.”
A dejected Tarin smith, who struggled from the field (3 points on 1-6 shooting), allocated that the team needs to close out opponents.
“We are not finishing the game properly,” Smith said. “I think we started out strong this game which we haven’t been doing but we gotta just finish the game. Our confidence won’t wavier too much. We know we’re a good team and we know what we’re capable of but we just have to fix a few things and get it right.”
The Dukes did get out of the gates strong tonight. At the half, they were up 10 after shooting 42.9% on 15-35. Even with the lead at the half, the Dukes struggled on the glass, grabbing only 4 offensive rebounds compared to 11 for the Skyhawks. UT Martin finished the game with 16 offensive boards to the Dukes 10 and held the edge in total rebounds 49 to 38 as well. Ferry expected more out of his team on the offensive glass coming into this game, especially against a zone team.
“We did a poor job offensive rebounding,” Ferry said. “They played zone the whole game and we only got 10 offensive rebounds and shot 37%. Against zone team you should be trying to get 40% of your misses back and we weren’t even close.”
One of the turning points in the Skyhawks comeback was a bad inbounds pass from Isiah Mike to Tarin Smith. With 7:39 left, the uncharacteristic mistake caused uproar on the UT Martin. The play seemed to give them their mojo back and they cut the Dukes lead to 5 off the turnover. Smith called it a fluke play.
“It was just a freak accident,” Smith said. “He was inbounding the ball and I didn’t think the ref had given him the ball yet. I wasn’t looking and it was like an one and a million accident.”
The Dukes will be off until Sunday when they host Cleveland St. at the A.J. Palumbo Center. Tipoff is at 2 pm. The Vikings lost to Kentucky Wednesday afternoon in Lexington 101-70.