Dukes senior night spoiled in OT
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It was senior night at Duquesne Wednesday, and for a long time it looked as if the Dukes were going to send their two seniors -- Andre Marhold and Sean Johnson -- out with a win in their final game at Palumbo Center.
But this has been a tough season for the Dukes in many ways and they seemingly have 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 against 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. At that point, the Dukes appeared 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 the 49ers made a 31-14 run to tie the score at 74-74 with 1:19 to play.
The score was tied at 79-79 at the end of regulation. Braswell scored with seven seconds left to tie it then blocked a Colter shot at the buzzer to preserve the tie. Charlotte then 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 the Dukes had no one to blame but themselves because of their poor free-throw shooting and carelessness with the ball.
The Dukes were 21 of 36 from the free-throw line (58 percent) and turned the ball over 20 times. They also were outrebounded, 41-34.
"I'm not going to lie, that one really hurts," Ferry said. "We have showed resiliency all year even though we haven't been very good and coming off a tough loss [Saturday] at La Salle. We came out and played hard against a team that is fighting to get into the tournament.
"I guess our youth showed at times in that we were not able to finish game, but we missed 15 free throws and we had 20 turnovers. You can't miss 15 free throws and turn the ball over and expect to win. We left the door open for them by missing those free throws, and you just can't do that."
To Ferry's point, the Dukes had three opportunities to stop Charlotte runs with free throws and missed the front end of a one-and-one. Then went 1 of 4 in two other trips to the free-throw line. Despite that they still had a chance late to finish the game at the line and couldn't.
Johnson missed 2 of 4 free throws in the final 40 seconds.
"It was difficult being up 17 and giving up the lead and then losing," Johnson said. "It was real tough losing on senior night. I felt like I could have ended the game, but missing those two free throws at the end of regulation was big. It was just real tough, especially on senior night."
Ferry added, "That's simple part of the game, making free throws and we got to foul line 36 times. If we just make our free throws, it is a different game especially since it is not like we were missing a ton of shots -- we shot 58 percent from the floor in the second half."
The loss was the Dukes' eighth in a row at home -- their previous home win was Dec. 19 against Western Michigan -- their fifth loss in a row overall and their 16th in the past 17 games. Duquesne 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, but both were outshined by Braswell. Ferry said the Dukes simply had no answers for Braswell, who was a big part the 49ers' 48-24 edge in points in the paint.
"That's what they do, they lead the league in points in a paint and as you saw, we tried everything," Ferry said. "He really just took over the game late and that is why he is an all-league player."
First Published March 7, 2013 12:30 am