By Andrew Holman | The Duquesne Duke
Duquesne squared off with the George Washington Colonials hoping to officially burst their NCAA tournament bubble, but were unable to capitalize on the opportunity.
The game was a back-and-forth tilt much of the way, but eventually the Colonials pulled away and picked up an important 81-74 victory. This was the fourth straight contest in which Duquesne saw a double digit lead vanish.
“It was another tough one obviously,” head coach Jim Ferry said. “I think it just comes down to you know, we are not defending in the second half at the level that we defended at in the first half.”
Duquesne held the Colonials to 38 percent shooting in the first half and 27 percent from behind the arc. However in the latter half, the Dukes let George Washington shoot at 52 and 67 percent clips from the field and the arc respectively.
After the opening 20 minutes, Duquesne led George Washington 38-31 and was shooting 48 percent from the field. Senior guards Derrick Colter and Micah Mason combined for 24 of those 38 first half points and were on fire, converting on 60 percent of their field goal attempts.
There were quite a few times in the opening half that it seemed the Dukes would pull away, especially considering the Colonials haven’t been overly strong on the road this season with four of their seven losses coming away from the Charles E. Smith Center. It never came to fruition.
Coming out of the break, the Red & Blue went on a 7-1 run to put them up 45-32 and earn their first double digit lead of the contest. However, the Dukes were unable to hold onto that 13 point lead and watched another game slip away.
Shooting guard Micah Mason shouldered the load for the Dukes scoring 26 points and capitalizing on 6 of 9 3-point attempts. This was the fifth straight game in which Mason scored over 20 points, making him the first Duquesne player to do that since Ovie Soko.
His running mate Colter added 18 points, five rebounds and four assists. Mason and Colter combined to score roughly 60 percent of the Dukes’ points even though the Colonials sold out on those two guys defensively playing a triangle and two defense against them, which Mason claims took them out of their rhythm.
“We just got to make sure we all go to the ball,” Colter said. “They try and take [Micah and I] away, so we got to make sure we find our teammates and then they make plays for themselves and for others.”
Although Mason and Colter had their usual scoring nights, Duquesne saw a recurring problem come back to haunt them once again— points off the bench. The Colonials reserves gave them 19 points off the bench compared to just six for Duquesne. In fact, the Dukes got just 30 points from guys not named Mason or Colter.
These backcourt guys know that getting their teammates involved is essential to their success moving forward.
“[We need to] really just talk to each individual and give them confidence,” Mason said. “They have made shots. They practice every single day. It’s really just confidence and we will get that.”
Duquesne has five games left to get things figured out before the Atlantic 10 Tournament and will take on Rhode Island at 7p.m. on Feb. 20.
“We just have the mentality to get better each and every day,” Mason said. “We can’t put our heads down now. We are a good team and we know that.”