Penn State stymies Duquesne, 68-59

Chris Harlan
| Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, 9:42 p.m.

Exactly one week after Duquesne's best shooting night came the worst.

Duquesne made just 27 percent from the floor — including 4 of 23 from 3-point range — in Wednesday night's 68-59 loss to Penn State at Consol Energy Center. The Dukes had averaged 47.2 percent over their first six games, including a season-high 59.6 shooting percent in last week's win over Maryland Baltimore County.

Against an experienced Nittany Lions backcourt, Duquesne guards Tra'Vaughn White and Derrick Colter missed 18 of 21 shots. As a team, the Dukes made just 17 of 63. Among the nine who played, only junior forward Dominique McCoy (5 of 6) made more than three shots.

“We defended very well today. We beat them on the glass. We didn't turn the ball over, but you've got to make a shot,” Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said. “We're a team that's averaging close to 82 points per game. To have everybody except Dominique McKoy really play poor offensively, that's a tough game to win.”

The game drew 5,246. The Dukes face Robert Morris on Saturday at Palumbo Center.

With 9:56 left, Duquesne trailed by just five, but Penn State pulled away with an 11-2 run. It included 3-pointers by Allen Roberts, D.J. Newbill and Travis Ross, and a layup by Donovon Jack. With 5:53 left, Penn State led 58-44.

The Dukes went more than five minutes without a basket. Two free throws by Ovie Soko were their only points. With 18 points and nine rebounds, Soko kept Duquesne competitive. But foul trouble limited him. Soko's fourth foul came with 7:52 left, and he fouled out at 5:37.

“I made a couple freshman mistakes,” said Soko, a fifth-year senior. “Stupid fouls. You can't pick those ones up.”

Roberts led Penn State (8-3) with 15 points.

Duquesne's zone defense did well keeping Penn State's talented backcourt tandem of Newbill (13 points) and Tim Frazier (11 points) away from the basket. But Frazier, a fifth-year senior, had 13 assists.

Jack, a former Duquesne recruit under the previous coaching staff, had six blocks, 12 rebounds and nine points.

The 6-foot-9 sophomore switched to Penn State when Duquesne fired Ron Everhart.

McKoy and Jeremiah Jones each had 12 points for Duquesne (3-4). Besides points and assists (18-7), the Dukes led several other stats, including a 47-45 rebounding edge with 21 offensive. They also had a 34-10 edge in free throws attempted.

“I just never thought that offensively we'd play so poorly with a group like this,” Ferry said. “With this group, we have the luxury that if one or two guys are having a bad night, we're OK because we have other guys who can come in and score. Tonight it all happened at once.”

Colter, White and Desmond Ridenour combined were 0 for 10 from 3-point range.

“We took a lot of bad ones early in the shot clock,” Soko said, “which led to (transition baskets) for them.”

It showed most early in the second half.

“Some shots were quick,” Ferry said. “When you're missing like that, sometimes the kids start pressing.”

Penn State held a 35-26 halftime lead.

Duquesne freshman Isaiah Watkins, recovering from leg surgery, made his debut three minutes into the first half. The 6-7 forward from Toronto had two points and five rebounds in 12 minutes.

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @CHarlanTrib.

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