It was a quick trip to redemption for Derrick Colter.
Moments after missing two free throws that left Duquesne trailing by one point, Colter, a sophomore guard, raced up the court with four seconds left and lifted a desperation floater from just beyond the 3-point line.
Colter's buzzer-beating 3-pointer gave Duquesne (9-9, 2-4) a dramatic 83-81 Atlantic 10 Conference victory against St. Bonaventure (12-8, 2-4) at Palumbo Center and snapped the Dukes' four-game losing streak.
"I'd rather we got it the good old-fashioned way," senior forward Ovie Soko said with a laugh. "But I'll take it."
The final minute had been a nearly identical set-up as Duquesne's loss against Saint Louis three days earlier, when Duquesne took a two-point lead with 57 seconds left and lost it on a 3-pointer seven seconds later.
This time, Soko gave the Dukes a two-point lead with 59 seconds left, and Bonnies guard Matthew Wright sank a 3-pointer 12 seconds later to steal it back.
"It was a nightmare," Soko said. "But the basketball gods went the other way today."
This time, the Dukes had an answer -- somehow. After the teams traded two free throws and Colter missed two, Bonnies guard Andrell Cumberbatch missed his, too.
Duquesne coach Jim Ferry called a timeout with 3.8 seconds left. That left Colter with an inbounds pass and a prayer. The unlikely hero made it count, and Palumbo Center erupted in fanfare.
"I knew we had it the whole time," Ferry said, laughing. "That was a great college basketball game."
The consecutive defeats had been piling up for Duquesne, each weighing a little heavier than the previous one. The Dukes faced comparisons to a season ago, when they went 1-15 in A-10 play.
But now, at least for one game, Duquesne is back to its winning ways.
Soko had a game-high 27 points, hitting 13 of 20 free-throw attempts, but fouled out with 13 seconds left.
"I walked over to the bleachers -- I didn't even want to watch," Soko said.
He turned to Colter: "Help me get this one, man."
Bonnies guards Charlon Kloof and Wright had 23 and 22 points.
The Dukes were 11 of 19 from 3-point range, a Ferry-era high, led by sophomore guard Micah Mason, who scored 15 points on 5 of 6 3s.
Forty-eight personal fouls and a couple of technicals, one assessed to Ferry and the other to Bonnies center Youssou Ndoye, elevated the point totals but kept either team from setting the pace.
St. Bonaventure had won three in a row against Duquesne, but this 111th meeting was different. The Dukes rallied from a six-point halftime deficit with a shower of early second-half 3-pointers to hand St. Bonaventure its fourth conference loss.
Duquesne turned the ball over nine times in the first half -- Colter had four -- and trailed by as many as nine points with 4:39 left.
"I was really disappointed in our point guard play in the first half," Ferry said.
But that wouldn't last long. Duquesne had just two turnovers in the second half, and Colter had none.
Finally, Colter played hero, scoring 14 points, and stopped the Dukes' bleeding.
"I knew that was going in."
“I knew that was going in.”
Stephen J. Nesbitt: email@example.com, 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt. First Published January 25, 2014 9:40 PM