Mistakes hamper Duquesne in Atlantic 10 loss to VCU

| Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, 8:39 p.m.

RICHMOND, Va. — Derrick Colter searched desperately for a teammate to take the ball. Trying to bring it up court, the Duquesne sophomore faced a fierce Virginia Commonwealth double team.

Colter turned around, cut under his own basket and sprinted up the sideline. He passed long to Dominique McKoy, but it was too late. Colter was whistled for a 10-second violation.

Errant passes, loose dribbles and clock violations doomed Duquesne in the second half. After leading by four at halftime, the Dukes crumbled against VCU's full-court press and lost their third straight game 80-65 in front of a sellout crowd.

Having committed only six turnovers in the first half, Duquesne (8-8, 1-3 Atlantic 10) finished with 17.

“We just can't turn the ball over like that if you're going to beat this team. They live off that,” Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said.

VCU (14-4, 2-1) went on a 15-3 run midway through the second half. The final two points of that streak came when Juvonte Reddic stole an inbounds pass and went straight up for a dunk.

But the ball popped off the back of the rim. There was Terrance Shannon, right behind Reddic, who caught the ball and dunked it again — this time successfully.

“It looked like a trapeze act,” VCU coach Shaka Smart said.

After the break, VCU's offense shot 20 of 38 (53 percent) from the field and 8 of 15 (53 percent) behind the arc. Melvin Johnson knocked down four 3-pointers and scored 12 points for the Rams. Briante Weber also finished with 12.

“Halftime was good for us,” Smart said. “It allowed us to hit the reset button.”

Colter led the Dukes with 13 points. Jeremiah Jones and Tra'Vaughn White followed with 10 each. Duquesne's leading scorer, Ovie Soko, was held to seven points and was 0 for 5 from the field.

The Rams outrebounded Duquesne, 48-37. In the first half, the teams' rebounding totals were nearly identical — 23-22 in favor of VCU.

Saturday was homecoming for VCU and a homecoming for Duquesne freshman L.G. Gill, a Richmond-area native. Gill scored seven points — all in the first half — matching his season high. Another of Duquesne's freshmen, Desmond Ridenour, added eight points.

“Ridenour and Gill had a great first half,” Ferry said. “They were aggressive. They played hard.

“As our freshmen get better, we'll get better.”

Eric Kolenich is a freelance writer.

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