Duquesne falls in home finale to Charlotte in overtime
In a season filled with losses, this one stood out.
Duquesne lost a 17-point lead in Wednesday night's 89-87 loss to Charlotte, unable to protect an overwhelming advantage with just 10 minutes left in the Dukes' home finale at Palumbo Center.
The loss was the 16th in 17 games for Duquesne (8-21, 1-14) and extended an eight-game home losing streak. The outcome of this seemingly well-in-hand Atlantic 10 contest escaped in the final seconds, despite the Dukes holding a 60-43 lead with 10:14 left in the second half.
“I'm not going to lie to you, that one really hurts,” Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said. “... We left the door open for a team to come back and win the game. And they took it.”
A 3-pointer by Ivan Benkovic with 1:58 left in the second half gave Charlotte a 72-71 lead, its first since before halftime. A turnaround basket in the paint by the 49ers' Chris Braswell with seven seconds left forced overtime.
Duquesne was outscored, 36-19, during the final 10:13 of regulation as the Dukes missed free throws and Charlotte worked the ball to Braswell in the paint. The 6-foot-9 senior scored 24 of his 28 points after halftime, including five in overtime, as the Dukes searched for a solution. They tried using Andre Marhold, Martins Abele, Kadeem Pantophlet and a 2-3 zone.
A winning basket by Braswell with 18 seconds left in overtime gave Charlotte an 88-86 lead. Charlotte held a 48-24 edge for points in the paint.
Pierria Henry had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Charlotte (19-10, 7-8), and Terrence Williams had 15.
Duquesne's Derrick Colter had 28 points and 11 assists for his first double-double. He made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 49 seconds left in regulation to put the Dukes ahead, 77-74. Quevyn Winters had 11 points, including a game-tying 3-pointer with 52 seconds left in overtime.
But costly were a turnover while trailing by two points with three seconds left and 15 missed free throws. The Dukes made just 21 of 36 from the foul line. Sean Johnson, who scored 20 points, missed two of four in the final 22 seconds of regulation.
“We still could have won that game if we didn't leave so many free throws out there,” Ferry said. “And we had some key turnovers late.”
Marhold and Johnson were honored as seniors before the game. But freshmen Colter, Winters and Jeremiah Jones showed why they could be celebrated in the future.
Colter scored nine consecutive points to give the Dukes their first lead. A layup by Colter forced a 27-27 tie with 3:57 left before halftime. His two free throws 51 seconds later gave the Dukes their first lead. A 3-pointer and a layup by Colter during the next 2 minutes — extending his 9-0 run — gave the Dukes a 34-27 edge. Colter scored 10 of his team's final 12 points, including a jumper at the buzzer to lead, 39-32, at half.
A jumper by Colter pushed Duquesne's lead to 17 points midway through the second. The Dukes led, 60-43, with 10:42 left. That was the team's largest lead since being ahead of New Orleans by 22 in a Dec. 8 victory. Only eight times in 29 games this season have the Dukes led by double figures.
Charlotte was 16-4 and second in the A-10 before dismissing leading scorer DeMario Mayfield on Jan. 30 for violating athletic department policy. The 49ers had lost six of eight since then entering Wednesday.