Dukes falter late in loss to Rhode Island
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Duquesne was coming off a big road win against Temple and hoping to avoid a letdown against Rhode Island Saturday when the Dukes and Rams squared off at Palumbo Center.
The Dukes certainly played this game with passion and looked a lot like a team that was on a mission to show the win against the Owls was not a fluke.
But Duquesne coach Jim Ferry has often said that there is a big difference between playing hard and executing and making plays.
As such, effort was not enough to overcome some clutch shooting and playmaking by Rhode Island down the stretch and the Dukes dropped a 67-62 decision before a crowd of 2,632.
Both teams are still clinging to hopes of making the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament -- only the top 12 of 16 teams advance -- so it was an intensely fought game.
Ferry, however, was complimentary of the way both teams competed but was far less enthused about the level of play for both teams, though he said the difference was the way Rhode Island closed the game by making plays.
"This was a hard-fought game, but it was an ugly game, let's be honest," Ferry said. "I thought both teams really tried hard, but in our case, we can't leave that many free throws on the line because like I have said often, our margin of error is really small."
Duquesne was 6 of 14 from the free-throw line.
"This is the second home game where we have said that about our free throws and our execution wasn't great. I credit Rhode Island for stepping up their defensive late and making the plays to win. But we're at home, we need to execute better and make free throws."
Duquesne trailed, 33-28, at the half but battled back and capped a late 14-4 run with a 3-pointer by Quevyn Winters with 4:06 to play which gave the Dukes their largest lead of the second half, 57-53.
But the Rams extended their defense and made it difficult for the Dukes to run their offense. That sparked an 8-1 run which gave Rhode Island a 61-58 advantage with 57 seconds to play.
Duquesne's Derrick Colter then hit a jumper with 24 seconds to play, but the Rams made six consecutive free throws down the stretch while the Dukes had two empty possessions and that proved to be the difference.
Ferry said the loss was as frustrating as the Dukes have had this year mostly because they were playing a winnable conference game at home.
"This one hurts a lot, you have to win these games at home against a team who is similar to us," Ferry said. "We have to make baskets, we're up on the glass the whole game and then we let them get some key offensive rebounds late."
Rhode Island outrebounded the Dukes, 37-34.
"... Maturity comes when you are able to finish games down the stretch. Those guys made plays down the stretch and won a basketball game, we have to execute better than we did."
Although the Dukes (8-17, 1-10 Atlantic 10) lost, they did get another strong performance by senior Andre Marhold, who was lauded for his play of late.
Marhold had 10 points, 6 rebounds and 5 blocks but said that this loss hurts a little worse than previous ones because coming off the victory against the Owls, the team thought they were going to get on a little bit of a roll.
"Even though we lost a lot of games in a row before Temple, we thought we could win out," Marhold said. "We were trying to make it to the playoffs and we are going to keep playing hard. Everyone played so hard, it just hurts coming up short."
Duquesne was led by Derrick Colter, who had 20 points and seven assists. Rhode Island (8-16, 3-8) was led by Nikola Malesevic, who had 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
First Published February 17, 2013 12:00 am