Duquesne's Andre Marhold has embraced an idea that could apply to more than just him.
The Dukes erased an eight-point second-half deficit but couldn't hold the lead in Saturday night's 67-62 loss to Rhode Island at Palumbo Center. The effort was there, yet their late-game execution was not.
“Coach stressed the fact that there's a difference between playing hard and making plays,” said Marhold, who had 10 points and tied a career high with five blocks.
The Dukes (8-17, 1-10 Atlantic 10) led by four with four minutes left, yet saw it slip away.
A foul shot by Mike Powell and a layup by Nikola Malesevic gave Rhode Island a 61-58 lead with 57 seconds left. Duquesne turnovers led to both Rhode Island possessions. A jumper by Colter cut the lead to one before Rhode Island (8-16, 3-8) made six consecutive free throws in the final 18 seconds to escape.
In contrast, the Dukes made just 7 of 20 from the free throw line.
Malesevic scored 19 points for Rhode Island, and Xavier Munford had 14. Derrick Colter led Duquesne with 20 points, and Jerry Jones had 11.
The loss left Duquesne alone at the bottom of the A-10 standings after a game the Dukes expected to win. Rhode Island sits next to last in the 16-team conference, and only the top 12 qualify for the league's postseason tournament.
“This one hurts a lot because we're still fighting,” Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said. “We're trying to get in, trying to make a run.”
Duquesne earned its first conference win two nights earlier at Temple, ending an 11-game losing streak. The Dukes have five games left, including a trip Tuesday to Butler (20-5).
“Even though we've lost a couple games in a row, our team still has confidence,” Marhold said. “We're just trying to make it to the playoffs.”
Duquesne used a 14-2 run to erase an eight-point second-half deficit. The run included a go-ahead basket by Marhold with 11:37 left. A 3-pointer by Colter 25 seconds later gave the Dukes a 47-43 lead.
Rhode Island forced ties at 47-47 and 49-49, and then retook the lead, 51-49, on a tip-in by Malesevic with 6:56 left.
A quick 5-0 run let the Dukes reclaim the lead, 57-53, with 3:40 left, but it was short-lived. Tied 58-58 with 2:39 left, the Dukes had turnovers on their next two possessions.
“This loss definitely is different because everybody fought so hard to win,” said Marhold, who strengthened his starter status following a double-double against Temple.
“Everybody in their mind knew we were going to win this game. That's why it hurt, because we ended up short.”
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