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Duquesne falls to hot-shooting New Hampshire

| Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 9:33 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
New Hampshire's Chris Pelcher dunks on Duquesne's Jeremiah Jones during the second half Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, at Palumbo Center.

Duquesne erased an early 13-point deficit but never disrupted New Hampshire's shooters in Thursday night's 84-81 nonconference loss at Palumbo Center. UNH made 15 of 27 shots from 3-point range, which included 8 of 12 after halftime.

Scott Morris had 17 points with five 3-pointers for New Hampshire (2-0), an America East team. Frank Okeke had 12 points, all on 3-pointers. Patrick Konan had 16 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.

The Dukes (1-1) were seeking their first 2-0 start since 2009-10.

“It looked like we were running in cement,” Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said. “For as fast as we are, that's unacceptable. ... We never got them out of their comfort zone.”

A layup by Konan with 44 seconds left gave New Hampshire the lead 82-81 and Morris added two free throws with 4.8 seconds left.

“Coach told us to play defense, and we didn't guard,” said guard Derrick Colter, who missed a last-second 3-pointer. “They kept making wide-open 3s. They were a good-shooting team, and they didn't miss.”

UNH's frontcourt was a foreseen challenge, with 6-foot-10 senior Chris Pelcher being a mismatch.

Pelcher had 14 points and 16 rebounds, helping UNH outrebound Duquesne, 40-32. But the matchup problem beyond the 3-point line was surprising.

Duquesne trailed 13-2 and 18-5, before it abandoned man-to-man defense, switched to a zone and held a 42-38 lead at halftime. But the zone wasn't a permanent fix.

“We tried to gimmick it with some zone to get them out of rhythm,” Ferry said, “but that's all that really was, a gimmick. We did not come out and play with fierce competitiveness on the defensive side of the ball.”

Duquesne's Tra'Vaughn White had 18 points, including a go-ahead layup with 1:26 left. But he missed a key free throw afterward — one of 10 missed by the Dukes — and later was stripped in the lane with 15 seconds left.

Ovie Soko had 14 points but made just 4 of 17 shots. Dominique McKoy had 13, and Colter had 12.

Consecutive 3-pointers by New Hampshire's Daniel Dion and Morris turned a 61-59 Duquesne lead into a 65-61 deficit with 10:38 left. A 3-pointer by Konan and another by Dion with 7:22 to play gave UNH a 73-66 lead.

The Dukes reclaimed the lead 81-80 on a layup through contact by White with 1:26 left, but the junior missed the free throw. The lead lasted just 42 seconds until Konan's layup.

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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