Duquesne blows lead, loses to Charlotte, 89-87

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It was senior night at Duquesne on Wednesday and for a long time it looked like the Dukes were going to send their two seniors -- Andre Marhold and Sean Johnson -- out with a win in their final game at the Palumbo Center.

But this has been a tough season for the Dukes in many ways and they have seemingly mastered the art of losing games in spectacular ways. So it is no surprise that they lost this one, despite leading by 17 points with just over 10 minutes to play.

Charlotte standout Chris Braswell poured in 28 points -- 24 of which came in the second half and overtime -- to lead the 49ers to an improbable come-from-behind 89-87 win over the Dukes before a crowd of 2,339.

Duquesne led 39-32 at the half and stretched the lead to 60-43 with 10:42 to play on a jumper by Derrick Colter and at that point seemed to be headed to their first conference win at home.

But Braswell took over the game, and the Dukes were powerless to stop him in the post. But they compounded their problems by missing free throws, and as a result the 49ers made a 31-14 run to tie the game at 74-74 with 1:19 to play.

The score was tied at 79-79 at the end of regulation -- Braswell scored with 7 seconds left to tie it, then blocked Colter's shot at the buzzer to preserve the tie. Charlotte scored the first four points of overtime and never trailed the rest of the way.

Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said that Braswell did what stars do -- take over games -- but there is no excusing this loss as the Dukes had no one to blame but themselves because of their poor foul shooting and carelessness with the ball.

The Dukes (8-21, 1-14 in Atlantic 10) were 21-of-36 from the free throw line (58 percent) and turned the ball over 20 times and were also outrebounded 41-34.

The Dukes had three opportunities to stop Charlotte runs with free throws and missed the front end of a one-and-one and then went 1-of-4 in two other trips to the line. Despite that, they still had a chance late to finish the game at the line and couldn't.

That's because Johnson missed 2-of-4 free throws in the final 40 seconds and had he made the two he missed, the game likely would have ended in regulation as a Dukes win.

The loss was the Dukes 8th in a row at home - their last home win was Dec. 19 against Western Michigan -- their fifth loss in a row overall and their 16th loss in 17 games. It wasted a brilliant effort by Colter, who became just the fourth freshman in school history to record 10 assists in a game.

Colter finished with 21 points and 11 assists for his first career double-double and Johnson finished with 20 points. Both were outshined by Braswell, who Ferry said the Dukes simply had no answers for and who was a big reason the 49ers (19-10, 7-8) had a 48-24 edge in points in the paint.

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Paul Zeise: pzeise@post-gazette.com or Twitter: @paulzeise


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