PITTSBURGH — Leading by as many as 12 points in the second half, the Duquesne men’s basketball team’s potentially 16th victory of the season came down to the closing seconds.
Duquesne’s opponent, a La Salle Explorers team with one Atlantic 10 victory on the season, was at the free throw line with a chance to tie the game if David Beatty sank all three of his free throws.
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Beatty sank the first but when he missed the second free throw, La Salle was forced to try and intentionally miss the third in an effort to get a rebound.
La Salle did miss the third and when Maceo Austin secured the rebound, Duquesne could only then exhale as 71-69 winners Sunday afternoon at PPG Paints Arena.
Four Duquesne players achieved double figures led by redshirt junior forward Marcus Weathers’s 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Both Tavian Dunn-Martin and Lamar Norman accumulated 12 points. Sophomore guard Sincere Carry had a final line of 10 points, six rebounds and nine assists, while graduate student center Baylee Steele concluded play with nine points and eight rebounds.
Duquesne’s win snaps its season-high three-game losing streak.
La Salle was paced by David Beatty’s 16 points. The Explorers out-rebounded Duquesne by a 40-31 final margin.
Early on, Duquesne used a two-pronged offensive attack consisting of Weathers and Lamar Norman Jr. Defensively, Duquesne showed some inconsistencies as La Salle was able to grab offensive rebounds which allowed for extended possessions.
The key to Duquesne’s 36-29 halftime advantage was assisted by a 13-2 run in which La Salle did not score a basket for 5:25 of game action. This allowed Duquesne to control the pace of a game which had been largely even up until that point.
Duquesne got off to a strong start to open the second half as Baylee Steele converted a three-point shot on the Dukes first possession.
With neither side able to create much separation, it came down to small details to determine who would obtain momentum.
Duquesne was able to toe the line when it came to physicality and were able to score 36 points in the paint compared to La Salle’s 16.
This was able to free up Norman for a three-point basket which gave Duquesne its largest lead of the afternoon at 12 points.
Duquesne’s momentum was short-lived as when Michael Hughes missed a dunk he expressed disagreement with referee Tim Comer and used a curse word that resulted in a technical foul.
La Salle was able to string together plays and cut its deficit as it made shots and Duquesne was missing shots, splitting free throws or turning the ball over.
A Dunn-Martin turnover with 28 seconds remaining allowed La Salle to have its opportunity to send the game into overtime.
As La Salle missed a three-point basket and rushed to both grab a rebound and put up another shot, Carry was whistled for a shooting foul as Beatty was behind the three-point line.
Duquesne will briefly take to the road when it travels for its second contest of the season against Saint Louis, with this one coming Wednesday night.