Duquesne blows big lead, falls to Dayton

Chris Harlan
| Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, 4:33 p.m.

Duquesne led for nearly 37 minutes and often by double figures, but made just four second-half field goals in Saturday afternoon's 57-54 loss to Atlantic 10 visitor Dayton at Consol Energy Center.

After shooting 51 percent (15-29) in the first half, the Dukes shot just 14 percent in the second (4-27).

“Pretty much the same exact shots and you shoot 14 percent,” said Duquesne coach Jim Ferry, whose team was outscored 32-15 after halftime. “You hold a fantastic offensive-scoring team to 57 points and 39 percent and you lose. That's heartbreaking. I really don't have the answer. I don't know if a team of mine has ever scored 15 points in a half.”

The Dukes led 39-25 at half.

But Dayton ate away at the margin and took its first lead, 53-51 with 3:09 left. In a 20-second span, junior Jordan Sibert sank a game-tying 3-pointer and a go-ahead dunk.

Duquesne's Ovie Soko made two of four free throws to force a 53-53 tie, but Dayton's Dyshawn Pierre hit a jumper in the lane to pull ahead. With 17 seconds left, Soko could have forced another tie at 55, but missed one of his two free throws.

“I had a chance to bring our team back level and I didn't do what seniors are supposed to do,” said Soko, who was honored on senior day along with teammate Jerry Jones. “(Dayton's players) made plays and I didn't.”

Sibert added a breakaway dunk with 10 seconds left for a 57-54 lead. Duquesne's Micah Mason and Jeremiah Jones missed off-balance last-second 3s.

Dayton (19-8, 7-5) extended its winning streak to six. Sibert led the Flyers with 18 points and Pierre had 10.

Duquesne (11-15, 3-10) has lost six of its past seven. And for the second time in two games, the Dukes faltered at the end. In the final three minutes, the Dukes missed all six shots.

“They kicked up their defensive pressure, but I think our execution may have been a little bit slower,” Soko said. “We were missing shots that we were making in the first half. We were taking the same shots. They just weren't falling.”

Soko made eight of his nine shots in the first half, but just 1 of 4 in the second. Dominique McKoy, who finished 1 for 10, was 0 for 6 after halftime. Derrick Colter was 0 for 5.

“They were the same shots,” Ferry said. “We had layups, we had open jump shots, we had free throws and we missed them.”

The Dukes started the game with a 17-2 run that peaked with consecutive 3-pointers by Soko, Jerry Jones and freshman L.G. Gill at 14:01. The Dukes made 8 of 12 from behind the arc in the first half. Soko was 3 for 3. Desmond Ridenour and Jerry Jones each made two, including a first-half buzzer beater by Ridenour to give the Dukes a 39-25 lead.

Dayton missed eight of its first nine shots and had just one field goal in the first seven minutes. The Dukes made six of their first eight shots.

The fast start was much different than Duquesne's last home game, when the Dukes trailed Richmond, 17-3, and never recovered. A 3 from atop the key by Ridenour put the Dukes ahead 23-10. Another 3-pointer by Jones made it 31-18 with 4 minutes until halftime.

Soko had 19 first-half points.

Dayton exited halftime with a 10-4 run and kept eating away. The Dukes lead was down to 51-48 after a layup and two free throws by Devin Oliver with 4:03 left. Then came Sibert's 3 and go-ahead dunk.

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