MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Duquesne (20-8, 10-6) racked up its 20th win of the season — which is the program’s first 20-win season since 2009 — with its 81-78 win against George Mason (15-14, 4-12) at Robert Morris on Saturday. Also, with the win, Duquense is now tied in fourth place in the A10 standings with St. Bonaventure.
The Dukes led for the first 14:53 of the game, until a 9-0 run by George Mason put them on top, 61-60, with just over five minutes remaining. But the close contest didn’t come as a shocker, with the way these two teams have played each other as of recent history. It was a free throw contest down the stretch, but Duquense made just enough to avoid a devastating finish. The teams combined for 47 fouls and 57 free throws.
Two of the past three Duquense games against George Mason have been decided by one point, with the third decided in double overtime by just six points.
But it was Duquense that made the plays down the stretch to win its second consecutive conference game. Sincere Carry led all scorers with 23 points and four assists. Marcus Weathers added 16 points and 10 rebounds, Mike Hughes scored 12, and Maceo Austin dropped in 10.
Coach Keith Dambrot came out of the gates showing full-court pressure and made the Patriots cough it up three times in the first three minutes of the game, which gave the Dukes an early 13-6 lead. But George Mason never fell behind any further in the first half and trailed just 37-33 at the half. Duquesne allowed seven offensive rebounds that allowed seven-second chance points by the Patriots, while the Dukes had only two. In the opening 20 minutes, there were six lead changes and five ties.
Carry continued his recent hot streak on the offensive end and led all scorers in the first half with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting. In Duquesne’s win at St. Bonaventure in its last time out, Carry led the way with 18 points and 11 assists. Freshman wing Maceo Austin matched his average of 7.3 points per game in the first half alone, as he scored seven on 3-of-5 attempts from the floor.
George Mason was without its leading scorer, Javon Greene, who has averaged 13.4 points per game this season.
Carry started things off in the second half with a 3-pointer, and on the other end of the floor Duquense went back to its full-court pressure and snatched its largest lead of the game at 45-37 heading into the under-15 minute media timeout. After several Duquense fouls, George Mason suddenly tied things up at 50 apiece.
But the Dukes responded with two massive shots from deep. First, it was Austin who nailed a contested trey from the left side, followed by a Lamar Norman Jr. swish from the right-wing. Weathers then scored a grown man’s tough and-1 finish at the cup to get Duquense back to their previous eight-point lead.
Hughes was charged with his fourth foul after allowing an offensive rebound with 7:34 left in the game, and the Patriots continued to live at the line and keep them within striking distance. But Hughes checked back in the game after the 9-0 Patriots run and converted on an and-1 to put the Dukes right back in front.
George Mason led the rebounding battle, 40-21, 17 of which were offensive. The Patriots also scored 26 second-chance points on the night. But the Dukes shot 56% from the field and coughed up just 13 turnovers, compared to George Mason’s 20.
Next up, Duquense will travel to play VCU on Tuesday, March 3rd at 7:00 p.m, before coming back to Pittsburgh and finishing out the regular season at PPG Paints Arena on Feb. 6 against Richmond.