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UMass rallies to sink Duquesne in overtime

| Friday, Feb. 12, 2010

These overtime games are killing Duquesne.

After looking like they'd turn Thursday night's Atlantic 10 Conference matchup against Massachusetts into a rout, the Dukes wound up losing their fourth overtime decision in a season-record six.

Ricky Harris, the A-10's second-leading scorer, had 29 points and Anthony Gurley added 20 as UMass rallied from a huge second-half deficit for an improbable 84-80 victory.

Harris and Gurley combined for 38 points after halftime.

"UMass' kids made some really tough shots down the stretch — both Gurley and Harris, especially Harris," Duquesne coach Ron Everhart said. "Everytime we seemed like we had somewhat any control of the game or any sort of a lead, one of those guys made a deep 3 and got them right back in it."

The NCAA record for overtime games in a season is eight. Among Duquesne's OT losses are a pair in double-overtime setbacks to No. 25 Pitt and Saint Louis.

"Im just as disappointed as I can be," Everhart said. "I thought our kids played hard enough to win that basketball game tonight. We gave ourselves some opportunities and just didn't make plays when we had to."

The result put a huge strain on Duquesne's A-10 Tournament playoff hopes with six games remaining in the regular season.

Duquesne, UMass and Saint Joseph's are deadlocked at 3-7 in league game, a half-game behind St. Bonaventure and La Salle (both 3-6), Duquesne's scheduled opponent on Sunday afternoon at Palumbo Center.

UMass overcame a 16-point second-half deficit and a four-point Duquesne lead with 3:13 remaining in overtime.

"That felt like a league game," UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. "Obviously, it was a good, old-fashioned fight, where both teams were throwing punches and competing at a high level. Unfortunately, one team had to lose because both teams gave their all and played with a lot of heart."

UMass shot 40.8 percent, hitting 12 of 26 shots from 3-point range, including 2 of 2 in the overtime period. The Minutemen outrebounded Duquesne, 60-33, grabbing two at key times while leading by two in overtime to prevent Duquesne from regaining possession.

"We should have gotten the ball or the whistle twice in overtime, especially when Damian (Saunders) got the ball," Everhart said. "We had a guy open down the floor and I thought he got grabbed. I saw him get grabbed. There was no call and that's just the way it goes. It's unfortunate that has to happen at home, but UMass made big plays. We didn't rebound the ball when necessary and that ended up being what cost us the game tonight."

Sean Carter added 11 points and grabbed 19 rebounds for UMass.

B.J. Monteiro led Duquesne (12-12, 3-7) with 18 points. Saunders became the 33rd Duquesne player to score 1,000 career points with 15, giving him 1,001; Bill Clark added 14 points, Eric Evans scored 13 and Melquan Bolding contributed 11.

Harris' two free throws in overtime gave Massachusetts an 82-80 lead after Duquesne had gone in front by four, and Sean Carter dunked in the closing seconds for the Minutemen (9-15, 3-7).

Harris scored 22 of his 29 points after halftime.

"Harris and Gurley got hot and there's not much you can do. They made a lot of shot down the stretch," Monteiro said.

"A lot of big shots, too," Evans added. "We knew we'd get a fight from them in the second half because in the first half, we were all over them. They got a couple big rebounds towards the end that we weren't able to get to."

Duquesne took a 50-34 lead on Saunders' layup with 17:24 left, putting the junior forward over the 1,000-point mark for his career.

But Saunders was forced to the sideline with leg cramps, and with the 6-foot-7 junior, who averages a double-double, on the bench for a portion of the time, UMass charged back and took a 60-58 lead on a basket by Harris with 8:22 remaining.

The Minutemen led, 69-65, with 5:28 to go before Duquesne regained the lead. Monteiro's dunk with 1:42 remaining put Duquesne ahead, 72-69, before Harris' 3-point shot tied it at 72-72 and sent the game into overtime.

Clark opened the overtime with a 3-pointer to give Duquesne a 75-72, but the Dukes couldn't withstand a barrage of 3-point shots by UMass, which ended a three-game losing streak.

Duquesne played inspired from the opening tip, racing to a 9-0 lead and making it 18-6 on Jason Duty's 3-point shot after the senior guard had just entered the game.

Another Duty 3-pointer with 2:21 remaining in the first half gave Duquesne its biggest lead (16 point), 37-21.

The Dukes wasted a chance to go up by 17 at the half.

With time winding down in the first half, Evans' shot was blocked and Harris hit a high-arcing 3-point shot at the buzzer, cutting the Duquesne lead to 41-29 at halftime.

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