Duquesne started slow for the second consecutive game but the Dukes responded quickly, got control of the game and cruised to an 84-74 win over Youngstown State tonight in the final game of the Legends Classic at the Palumbo Center.
The Dukes used their size advantage and the scoring touch of talented freshmen Derrick Colter and Quevyn Winters, who combined for 36 points, to overpower the Penguins.
Youngstown State jumped to a 5-0 lead on two quick buckets but unlike Tuesday night when the Dukes folded after falling behind North Dakota State, freshman point guard Derrick Colter hit a 3-pointer and layup on consecutive possessions to tie the game.
Colter's baskets sparked the Dukes to a 17-2 run and they took a 17-7 lead and maintained at least an 8-point lead for the duration of the first half and led 42-33 at the half.
The Dukes made 18-of-44 field goal attempts (41 pct) , which isn't great, but they were able to gain their edge by working so hard on the offensive boards and creating second chance opportunities.
Duquesne grabbed 14 offensive rebounds in the first half and that led to 15 second-chance points and the Dukes enjoyed an overall 20-rebound edge in the half.
In the second half, the Dukes continued to pound the offensive boards -- they were especially effective when they had 7-foot-1 junior Martins Abele was in the game as his size and relentless pursuit of the ball proved to be too much for the Penguins to handle.
In fact, one of the loudest ovations of the night came with 13:21 to play when Abele, after a flurry of offensive rebounds and fight loose balls, got a much-needed from Duquesne coach Jim Ferry.
With Abele on the bench, the Dukes turned to a couple of timely 3-pointers and some excellent defense to keep the Penguins at arm's length and maintain control of the game.
Youngstown State did make a little bit of a run late in the game and pulled to within five points -- 75-70 -- with 2:00 to play after consecutive 3-pointers by Shawn Amiker.
But Jerry Jones drove the lane with 1:38 to play and though his shot was blocked, the Penguins were guilty of goaltending and a foul so Jones was awarded two points and he hit the free throw to push the Dukes lead safely back to 78-70.
The Dukes finished the game with a 53-29 rebounding edge, which is significant because it shows how much different they will play under Ferry than they did under previous coach Ron Everhart.
Last season, the Dukes were outrebounded 21 times in 31 games and never enjoyed a rebounding edge of 15 or more much less winning the rebounding battle by 24.
Winters led the Dukes with 18 points while Colter added 18 points and Kadeem Pantophlet added 13 while draining a career-high four 3-pointers. Abele finished with nine points and ten rebounds while Sean Johnson had nine points and eight rebounds.
Duquesne (2-3) is now off for a week and will resume play next Wednesday when they travel to Boone, North Carolina to face Appalachian State.
Youngstown State (3-3) was led by Kendrick Perry with 15 points and five assists and Damian Eargle, who scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds.
Winters was named to the All-Tournament Team.
Paul Zeise: email@example.com or Twitter: @paulzeise