The Duquesne men’s basketball team appeared poised to go to 2-0 as it opened Atlantic 10 play after Fordham’s Darius Quisenberry airballed a three-point shot and Kevin Easley was fouled by multiple Rams with the Dukes separating themselves by a point.
When Easley missed the free throw to the left, Fordham quickly went on the run and Antonio Daye Jr was off to the races making a layup with 3.2 seconds left.
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Jackie Johnson III’s halfcourt heave hit nothing but air as Fordham won by a 72-71 score Wednesday at the Rose Hill Gymnasium.
Duquesne (6-8/1-1 A-10) which led by as many as 13 points in the contest, was led by Primo Spears’s game high 20 points, with 15 of those coming in the second half.
Spears provided offense for a Duquesne side which saw a double-digit second half lead transition to an eight-point Fordham advantage. His shot with 33 seconds left got a defender on the ground and gave the Dukes a one-point lead before the aforementioned events unfolded.
Johnson and Leon Ayers III both scored 13 points. Johnson converted all three of his first half three-point field goal attempts but missed on all three tries in the closing 20 minutes. Tre Williams finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and tied a career high with seven blocks.
Fordham (9-5/2-0 A-10) was paced in points by both Daye and Quisenberry who each netted 16. Chuba Ohams nearly obtained a triple double with his 14 points, 16 rebounds and eight blocks. Kyle Rose celebrated his birthday by scoring 13 points.
This was Fordham’s first game in two weeks and third in the last month. The victory snaps a six-game losing streak for the Rams in this matchup.
Though the Rams led by five points in the early going, Duquesne went on a 9-0 run which started when Johnson buried a three-point shot and culminated in a dunk from Austin Rotroff.
Fordham attempted to counter this change in momentum by going smaller in the post, which allowed Williams to start to find his game inside, which not only opened up more scoring lanes, but also added to Duquesne’s advantage, as the edge reached 11 points.
Duquesne’s largest lead of the evening, a 13-point margin, came on a Williams layup from Spears with 5:20 remaining in the first half.
At halftime, Fordham rallied to a 40-33 deficit.
When Ayers opened the scoring with a three-point basket, it appeared that Duquesne would pick up where it left off in the first half, but that ultimately would not be the case.
Rose would score five quick points which allowed Fordham to start a 12-0 run, that allowed the Rams to reclaim the lead.
Duquesne was having issues offensively with repeated turnovers which allowed Fordham to get into transition and convert higher-percentage shots.
Coming into the contest, Duquesne averaged 10.9 turnovers a game and Wednesday, the Dukes recorded 15 miscues that Fordham turned into 22 points.
Duquesne would retake the lead, opening up a four-point cushion, but then Daye made a layup and then Josh Colon-Navarro buried a triple and Fordham again began to dictate play.
Up eight points with seven minutes remaining, Fordham was looking at going 2-0 in A-10 play for the first time, but Duquesne refused to fold going on a 5-0 run to bring the game within one possession.
After the teams traded baskets, Ayers buried another three-point shot tying the game. Fordham then split free throws, while Ayers made both of his attempts placing Duquesne back in front.
Ohams would then bury a basket and then inside of a minute, grabbed a rebound, putting Fordham back in control. Coming out of a timeout, Fordham threw the ball away when Spears converted the go-ahead jumper, which led to the frantic finish that saw Daye send the Rams smiling back to the locker room.
Duquesne will look to regroup Saturday when it hosts Dayton at 12:30 p.m. The contest will be televised by USA Network.