PITTSBURGH — Coming into Wednesday night’s Duquesne men’s basketball contest against George Washington at PPG Paints Arena, coach Keith Dambrot seemed optimistic that good practice would translate onto the court.
For much of the game the story just appeared to be that it was not Duquesne’s night and despite an unrelenting final few minutes, it was not enough to overcome a 14-point second-half deficit as the Dukes fell 70-67 to GW.
What probably will be viewed critically by Duquesne fans were the team’s last two full-length possessions.
Down by three, Duquesne fired a quick shot instead of allowing the play to develop and it allowed for GW to have a chance to close the game.
When the free throws did not fall, Duquesne again had another opportunity with 22 seconds remaining in regulation but did not drive the lane until three seconds remained and that led to a foul.
Duquesne (18-7, 8-5 Atlantic 10) split free throws in an attempt to tie the game but ultimately were unsuccessful as GW grabbed the rebound, also split free throws and a halfcourt attempt sailed long of the mark.
Four Dukes achieved double figures led by redshirt junior forward Marcus Weathers who amassed 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Sincere Carry added 17 points. Redshirt junior center Mike Hughes totaled 10 points and nine rebounds, while redshirt junior guard Tavian Dunn-Martin contributed 10 points towards Duquesne’s cause. Duquesne scored 42 of its 67 points in the paint
Maceo Jack led GW (12-14, 6-7 Atlantic 10) was 20 points. Senior center Arnaldo Toro earned a double-double with his 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Duquesne controlled the early stages of the first half opening up to an 11-3 lead. It was clear early on that the Dukes were attempting to defend its home court and were the aggressors.
After the first media timeout, George Washington got into the game cutting its deficit to 20-17. Toro’s insertion into the game had a big impact as he was able to grab rebounds to give his team second-chance opportunities.
Toro’s ability to provide for his team opened up GW’s three-point shooting which led to its high point of the half, a 20-3 scoring run.
Duquesne trailed at halftime by a 35-32 score. GW opened up to a 50% shooting clip and scored 11 points off five Duquesne turnovers.
In the second half, it was Jack who was able to create space making four three-point shots. When Jamison Battle buried a three-point basket, it gave GW its biggest lead of the game at 14 points.
Duquesne made its run ratcheting up defensive pressure on inbounds passes and pressing GW into multiple mistakes which forced its coach, Jamion Christian to call a timeout.
The rally which came down to the closing seconds fell just short as GW made enough free throws and Duquesne had the aforementioned empty possession and foul shots.
Duquesne will next travel to face five-ranked Dayton Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. in a game broadcast by Stadium.