Duquesne falls at Old Dominion, 63-54
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NORFOLK, Va. -- Ron Everhart was half right.
Duquesne's coach emphasized the importance of his smaller Dukes keeping pace with Old Dominion on the boards, and his team managed to do that.
But Duquesne's second 20-turnover game of the season erased that effort in a 63-54 loss last night at the Constant Center.
"I told our kids if we kept the rebounding battle even tonight and we had fewer turnovers than them, we had a great chance to win," said Everhart, whose Dukes pulled down 42 rebounds to the Monarchs' 43.
"Ironically, I thought the easier thing to do would be not to turn the ball over, because a lot of time they play zone and I didn't think it was going to be a real press-press type of game. But we didn't handle some situations very well."
Old Dominion (9-4), leading the nation in scoring defense by holding opponents to just 53.9 points per game, held Duquesne (9-5) to 32 percent shooting and blocked a season-high 12 shots to negate a career-high 17 points from Dukes freshman guard Sean Johnson and a career-best nine blocks from junior forward Damian Saunders.
The Monarchs shot just 35.4 percent, but they got 15 second-half points from senior center Gerald Lee, who scored a season-best 24 points, to turn back Duquesne after the Dukes twice closed what was once an 11-point lead to three.
"Lee just did a tremendous job inside," Everhart said. "He made some really tough shots.
"We did a good job of trying to come and double him, and he was just strong enough to step through and just made a couple of tough shots."
The Dukes, down five at halftime, fell behind, 42-31, with 13:13 to play and were shooting just 25 percent at that point.
But an 8-0 run, fueled by four Monarch turnovers, cut the margin to 42-39 when B.J. Monteiro hit a leaner in the lane with 10:49 to play.
Lee answered with a jump hook, but Johnson's slam cut the lead to three again. Old Dominion went back to Lee, whose bucket stretched the lead to five, before Ben Finney made one of the Monarchs' three 3-pointers on 16 attempts to put Old Dominion up, 49-41, with 8:26 to play.
The Dukes, shooting 26.5 from long-range coming into the game, made just 2 of their 18 3-point attempts and were 0 for 7 from behind the arc in the second half.
"They made two 3s in the second half and we made none, and I thought that was another factor that just did not allow us to get the game into a situation where it was a tie game or we could ever take the lead," Everhart said.
Lee opened the second half with a personal 7-0 run as the Monarchs built a double-digit lead, but Monteiro's layup sparked the 8-0 run that kept the game close.
"You've got to give them credit for being a good team that kept scrapping," Old Dominion coach Blaine Taylor said. "Every time it seemed like maybe we could string a couple of plays together, they seemed to have an answer to keep it competitive."
No other Monarch scored in double figures. Saunders added 11 points and 10 rebounds for Duquesne, now 1-4 on the road this season.
First Published December 31, 2009 12:00 am