Duquesne upends Dayton, 73-71

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Duquesne pulled off a solid home win this afternoon, earning a 73-71 victory against Dayton at the Palumbo Center.

The Dukes moved to 15-12 overall, 6-7 in Atlantic 10 play with the win, while Dayton is now 18-8, 7-5 in league play.

Damian Saunders led the Dukes with 20 points and Bill Clark added 12.

Dayton was paced by 21 from Chris Johnson, who knocked in 6 of 13 3-pointers. Chris Wright scored 15 for the Flyers.

Saunders hit a layup with 25 seconds left to give the Dukes a 72-71 lead before Dayton's Chris Johnson missed a 3-pointer with 9.9 seconds left.

From there, Clark went to the line, hitting one of two free throws to give the Dukes the 73-71 advantage.

Dayton was hot out of halftime advancing to a six-point lead early in the second half, before the Dukes took a 49-48 lead with 12:39 left in the game.

Saunders scored nine points in the first 7:30 of the second half to push the Dukes to a lead.

But Dayton, which hit seven 3-pointers in the first 11 minutes of the second half, kept finding a way -- whether it was inside or outside.

The Flyers held a 59-55 lead with nine minutes to go.

After Saunders' defense led to two run-out dunks, the Dukes manufactured a 61-59 lead with 7:28 to go.

The Dukes capitalized with Wright saddled with foul trouble in the second half, taking a 67-63 lead with five minutes left.

Dayton wrestled the lead back on two Kurt Huelsman free throws with just over two minutes left, taking a 71-69 lead.

Down a point, Duquesne forced a turnover with 40 seconds left, leading to the end-game situation.

Dayton started strong -- very strong.

The Flyers -- and more to the point, Wright -- took off from the very start. Wright scored his team's first 11 points, building a 19-13 Dayton advantage over the opening eight minutes.

The Dukes climbed back, making it 25-25 with 6:40 remaining before halftime when Eric Evans hit a nifty floater from in close.

Duquesne took a 28-27 lead with just above two minutes left, when Saunders hit a driving layup.

The Dukes fell behind, 33-30 at halftime, due in large part to shooting 6 for 14 from the free throw line over the first 20 minutes.

Colin Dunlap: cdunlap@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1459.

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