Pat Higgins | Sports Editor
With eight seconds left in the second half of Saturday’s matchup against conference foe Rhode Island, Duquesne guard Jeremiah Jones and URI guard Jared Terrell raced after a loose ball at midcourt after Terrell missed a jumper from the left wing.
With a 60-59 lead and the clock dangerously close to expiring, Jones reached to seal another Atlantic 10 victory, but he and Terrell got tangled up around midcourt. With a clear line to the ball, Terrell bounced off Jones, while Jones slid into the scorer’s table to the tune of a referee’s whistle, sending Terrell to the charity stripe, where he gave the Rams a 61-60 advantage. It was their first lead of the game since the 10:24 mark of the first half.
On the following Duquesne possession, junior guard Derrick Colter, who scored 15 points and four rebounds in 35 minutes, dribbled the length of the court and put up a 10-foot jumper from the baseline before the buzzer, but the shot bounced off the rim and out. With the miss, the Dukes fell to the Rams 61-60.
Coach Jim Ferry was furious with the call against Jones. In the media room following the game, he gave one statement before returning to the locker room.
“I thought both teams played their hearts out. It’s a freaking disgrace that a game gets ended on a 50-50 call. That’s it,” he said.
He crumpled the final box score and walked out of the media room.
“They can fine me, they can do whatever they f—ing want. I don’t care,” he said.
The Dukes fell to 6-8 overall and 1-2 in conference play, with a matchup against No. 17 Virginia Commonwealth University ahead on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Consol Energy Center.
Duquesne grabbed the lead just before the 10-minute mark in the first half, and held it all the way until the game’s final 10 seconds. They held the Rams (10-3 overall, 3-0 A-10), to just 19 points in the first half, including a four and a half minute scoreless streak before intermission.
In the first half, URI shot just 8-of-29 from the field against Duquesne’s 2-3 zone. Their shooting improved, both from 3-point range (5-of-11) and from the free throw line (11-of-13), in the second half.
URI coach Dan Hurley spoke about the level of play at which the Dukes are playing since the start of conference play.
“Their junior perimeter players, the four of those guys are a bundle to handle in Stevens, Mason, Jones and Colter,” he said. “We knew it was going to be a war and we’d be lucky to get out of here with a win because they obviously are playing at a much, much higher level than they were in those early non-conference games.”
Hurley also gave his take on the play that had Ferry so frustrated after the buzzer.
“He got pushed in the back out of bounds. When he [Jared Terrell] has the line towards the ball and he gets shoved in the back into the scorer’s table, I think you probably have to call that no matter whether there’s one second left or the game just started,” Hurley said.
After starting the season with man-to-man approach on defense, the Dukes switched to the 2-3 zone at some point in the first half of the City Game against Pitt about a month ago. Since then, they’ve improved their interior defense and do a good job at times of shutting down perimeter shooting, with forwards TySean Powell and L.G. Gill logging a lot of minutes on the low wing. ‘
The Dukes lost to Saint Louis on the road last night 78-69, dropping to 1-3 in the conference with an even tougher test against VCU on Saturday afternoon at Consol Energy Center. Junior guard Micah Mason led the team with 15 points, while senior forward Dominique McKoy grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds.