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Duquesne Basketball

Duquesne Comes Back from Down 17 to Knock Off Rhode Island



MCCANDLESS TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Two years ago, the Duquesne men’s basketball team found itself down by 19 points at home to Rhode Island, and Wednesday night on the losing end by 17 points late in the first half, history repeated itself.

Ryan Murphy’s jumper with 1:02 remaining in regulation gave Duquesne a 71-69 victory over Rhode Island at LaRoche University’s Kerr Fitness Center.

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Duquesne’s (4-5, 3-4 A-10) Chad Baker led all scorers with his career high 19 points on six-of-seven shooting from the field. Mike Hughes added a double-double consisting of 15 points and 10 rebounds. Marcus Weathers also achieved double-figures with his 12 points.

Makhel Mitchell paced Rhode Island (7-8, 4-4 A-10) with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Fatts Russell added 13 points and six assists. Antwan Walker also scored 10 points.

Early on a Duquesne offense that had not shown much punch was matching Rhode Island shot for shot.

Duquesne’s offense had a faster pace to it with ball rotations leading to open shots. Baker was the biggest beneficiary nailing eight of his team’s first 14 points, including two three-point shots.

Russell was clicking early for Rhode Island setting the pace of play, calling his own number and quickly making passes for better shots if the opportunities presented themselves.

Meanwhile Mitchell set a standard as the most physical player on the floor with nine points and rebounds, five of which were offensive.

After the first media timeout, Duquesne did not recover offensively. The crisp ball movement disappeared and it was a scramble to get a decent look.

Rhode Island was starting to gain momentum of the contest and started to have the clear post advantage, something which became further clear when Hughes picked up two fouls 24 seconds apart. Duquesne would have to play 10 minutes in the first half without its post anchor.

As a result, Duquesne appeared to lose some of its physicality which allowed Rhode Island to pull away. Duquesne not only was held scoreless for a critical 4:21 of first-half action, but it also did not convert a field goal for 6:02.

Duquesne’s frustration was evidenced by having four of its players around the basket ready to crash a rebound, but being beaten by a Rhode Island player to the rebound.

During this time Rhode Island went on a 15-1 scoring run as Duquesne’s effective offense was silenced, replaced by loud roars of approval from the Rams bench.

At halftime, Rhode Island led Duquesne 44-31. The 44 points represented Rhode Island’s highest first-half point total this season.

In the second half, Mitchell picked up his third foul of the game a little over two minutes in which allowed Duquesne to play a bit more freely and in control.

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Duquesne first cut its deficit to 10 points before URI made a couple of baskets.

Though the Dukes were able to respond once again, the momentum was stopped when Baker was called for his second technical foul in as many games. Official Brian Dorsey blew the whistle on Baker who appeared to be exchanging dialogue with a Rhode Island player.

Harris got Duquesne back on track with a layup and slowly the deficit began to subside.

On a dead-end play, Harris appeared to be trapped on the corner wing but found a cutting Weathers who converted a basket and was fouled. After Weathers made the free throw, Duquesne was within six points.

Weathers then recorded a steal and added an exclamation point with a dunk. Baker then added a three and all of a sudden the teams were separated by a point.

Rhode Island would score on its next possession but Tavian Dunn-Martin had a half-step advantage on Duquesne’s next possession and his three-point attempt was enough to tie the game.

Down one, Hughes went to work again in the paint and his basket allowed Duquesne to take its first lead since the 10:35 mark of the first half.

Rhode Island found itself up by a point when Murphy came in. After sitting for a little over four minutes of game action, Murphy found separation and buried a deep jumper which placed Duquesne back in the lead.

As Rhode Island attempted to come back, Dunn-Martin drew a charge as Russell was the guilty party. Dunn-Martin then split free throws. The Rams then had two looks to tie and win but were unsuccessful.

Duquesne will next host St. Bonaventure Saturday at 7 p.m. Duquesne dropped a 62-48 decision to the Bonnies this past Friday.


Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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