Duquesne loses heartbreaker to UMass at home

Junior Center Darius Lewis reacts to the Dukes' 108-99 OT loss to the UMass Minutemen. | Joseph Guzy

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By Julian Routh | Editor-in-Chief

It happened again.

In their Sunday afternoon game against the Massachusetts Minutemen, the Duquesne men’s basketball team saw their 12-point second half lead dwindle to zero with under 9 minutes left and turn into a heartbreaking loss — reminiscent of what happened last Tuesday in Dayton.

But this time, the real heartbreak came in overtime, when the hot-handed Minutemen outscored the Dukes 24-15 to propel them to a 108-99 win.

In a game laden with one-sided runs and technical fouls (four against the Minutemen), Massachusetts’s prolific shooting late in the game was too much for the Duquesne defense to handle. After poor shooting in the first half, the Minutemen shot over 60 percent from the field in the second and 53 percent from behind the arc.

Massachusetts guard Jabarie Hinds — who was a big part of the team’s upset victory over VCU last Thursday — scored a career-high 37 points on 13-20 shooting. Guard Trey Davis, who is in the discussion for Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, added 24 points of his own.

“Hinds really killed us,” Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said. “[It was] his ability to break us down off the dribble. He really got in a comfort zone.”

All things considered, the Dukes had a strong showing offensively. The team shot 45.3 percent on 64 shots and went 29 for 35 from the free throw line. Senior guard Micah Mason recorded a career-high 29 points and junior forward L.G. Gill put up 20.

But it wasn’t enough.

Duquesne struggled behind the arc, shooting 12 for 31, and lost the rebounding game 44 to 38.

“It’s obviously not the way we wanted to end up,” Mason said. “I thought we had the game, but we let them off the hook.”

The first half was a different story for the Dukes.

After missing their first seven shots of the game, the Dukes went on a quick 15-0 run highlighted by fast break scores and three-pointers from Steel and Mason. Over that run, Duquesne held Massachusetts to 1-17 shooting from the field.

But the Minutemen responded with a 21-5 run of their own over 5:40, before Steel scored 8 straight points to keep Duquesne in the lead. He finished with a career-high 11 points.

The Dukes led 43-33 at half.

“As the home team, you have to finish that game and win that game at home,” Ferry said.

The loss is Duquesne’s third in a row, and drops them to 15-11 on the year and 5-8 in the A-10 conference. The team will play at home Wednesday against George Washington.

“We just gotta keep our heads up, not let the last three games affect us, move on and get better every day,” Mason said.