PITTSBURGH — On Wednesday night, Duquesne fell to Princeton in heartbreaking fashion after cutting the Tigers’ second-half lead from nine all the way down to one in the final minute.
Despite battling back all the way to a one-point deficit in the final minute of the game, Duquesne surrendered its first chance to take control as Jimmy Clark III lost the ball and Princeton gained possession with less than one minute to go. After a jump ball was called, the Tigers retained the ball. In the final 20 seconds, Duquesne forced a Princeton turnover, but with time winding down, Fousseyni Drame missed a right-side floater attempt off the backboard and Princeton regained control.
After a pair of Princeton free throws from star guard Xaivian Lee, the clock hit zeroes and Princeton had capped off an impressive victory, 70-67.
Guard Matt Allocco led Princeton in scoring, finishing with 23 points. Lee added 20, while Blake Peters contributed 11. For Duquesne, Clark led the team with 17 points, while Dae Dae Grant followed with 16.
Both teams traded buckets in the early going, with Princeton taking an early five-point lead but the Dukes quickly answering back. The Dukes tied the game at 15 nine minutes into the game on a Jakub Necas three-ball — the freshman’s third three of the year. However, shortly after, the Tigers opened up another lead, this time working its way up to an eight-point margin over the Dukes with less than eight minutes to go in the first half.
The Dukes took back the first-half lead with a 9-0 run shortly after, capped off by an Andrei Savrasov three. But Savrasov and the Dukes could just not contain the Tigers throughout the rest of the half. Princeton’s Lee shined early, scoring 14 first-half points on five-for-seven shooting. In the first frame, Allocco added nine points, hitting four of his five attempts from the field. To stop the bleeding on Princeton’s late first-half run, Duquesne’s Jake DiMichele — who had subbed in for the final minute of the half — hit a buzzer-beating three to head into the locker room trailing by six.
In the second half, Duquesne kept things close for the early portion of the frame. With just over 12 minutes to go, Grant hit another wing three off a dish from Jimmy Clark III to cut the lead to three. But each time the Dukes came back, the Tigers held onto the lead and built it right back up. With nine minutes to go, Allocco hit a wide open layup off a backdoor cut to extend the lead to a half-high nine points. Keith Dambrot’s squad continued to trail and grew more and more frustrated as the half went on. However, the game wasn’t over just yet.
The Dukes continued to battle throughout the half, eventually bringing the lead all the way down to three points with 4:30 remaining after a pair of Kareem Rozier free throws dropped. Less than one minute later, Drame took Lee to the rim for an easy layup, cutting the Princeton lead down to one for the first time of the half.
In the final minutes, Duquesne once again cut the lead down to one, but as its last-second pass was deflected by Princeton with 0.4 seconds on the clock, the buzzer sounded, and Princeton went home with the win.
Duquesne now moves to 3-1 with the loss and will play Rider next on Friday, Nov. 17 at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse, once again at 7 p.m.