It was physical.
Everything expected of a rival game.
But in the minutes that count most Duquesne was outplayed Tuesday night by Robert Morris, falling 64-60 to its other city rival for the second time in as many years.
The Colonials got a big 3-pointer from Russell Johnson with 4:07 to play to take their first lead in the second half at 57-56.
From there they got a key layup, two free throws and contested the Dukes' final 3-point chance with the score at 63-60. A final free throw iced the upset.
"Some of the guys we have within our program, they play with a chip on their shoulder," said Robert Morris coach Andy Toole. "A lot of times that's a pretty good thing."
Duquesne, which dropped to 5-4, hadn't been in a close game yet this season.
"No, we haven't and I do think we panicked a little bit," coach Ron Everhart said. "We flat got beat tonight. We got beat by a good ballclub. [It was] second chance points. Not getting loose balls at the end really hurt us. ... They made us pay for not making shots down the stretch. They certainly made us pay for not making free throws."
The Dukes went 6 of 13 from the free-throw line, and Robert Morris made 15 of 18.
Duquesne was held to just 38.1 percent shooting, and the Colonials held leading scorer Sean Johnson to four points.
"I think the last minute, 30 [seconds] they made a few plays down the stretch," said guard B.J. Monteiro. "They got some loose balls. They played hard. Guess they got some easy ones down the stretch that took the win away."
After Johnson's 3-pointer, the Dukes countered with a tip-in by Andre Marhold, but Robert Morris got two free throws from Lijah Thompson to regain the lead, 59-58.
On the next possession Jerry Jones kicked out a pass at the perimeter and T.J. McConnell missed a 3-pointer. He shot 2 of 9 from the floor.
Jones grabbed the rebound in the paint and missed the second-chance shot.
That gave the ball back to Robert Morris. With 27.5 seconds left, point guard Velton Jones found Thompson, who scored on a reverse layup after a long possession to make the score 61-58.
"He's had trouble making layups this year. But he's been working on it every day," Jones said. "I put my trust in him to make a layup down the stretch and he did."
Johnson countered with a drive to the basket and a layup and the Dukes trailed by one, 61-60.
After a timeout, the Dukes were forced to foul and Jones hit two free throws to extend the lead to 63-60.
With just 9.8 seconds on the clock and time for one shot, McConnell worked the ball down the court, dished to Eric Evans in the corner, who missed a 3-pointer.
"I thought I rushed it," said Evans, who had scored a team-high 16 points. "I can't look back on that. Got to get ready for our next game coming up."
The tone was set by halftime when Duquesne took a 32-28 lead into the break after eight lead changes.
With a Mike Talley 3-pointer and a layup by Eric Evans on the fastbreak as time expired, the Dukes managed to take a four-point lead.
But Robert Morris, which played an aggressive defensive style, forced seven turnovers.
The Colonials used a 9-0 run to lead Duquesne, 14-8, with 11:17 to go in the half.
A 6-0 run by the Dukes tied the score at 14.
Jenn Menendez: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1959. First Published December 7, 2011 5:00 AM