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Duquesne losing streak reaches nine

| Thursday, Feb. 15, 2001

NEW YORK - As he has done frequently throughout nine years of coaching at Duquesne University, Darelle Porter stood helplessly watching Wednesday night as the final seconds of yet another chapter of futility ticked away.

The outcome, a 91-84 loss to Fordham, before 1,982 at Rose Hill Gym served as the Dukes' ninth consecutive defeat and their 12th in the past 13 games. It also was the 18th time in a row dating to last season that Duquesne (7-18, 1-11 Atlantic 10) has failed to win on the road.

Fordham (12-11, 4-7) ended a five-game losing streak.

With four regular-season games remaining, the Dukes' chances of avoiding 20 losses for the third consecutive time in Porter's three years as head coach are remote.

'It's getting hard because we've had some games we've been capable of winning,' Porter said. 'It kind of wears on you.'

Porter gambled with his starting lineup last night, inserting 6-10 sophomore center Chris Clark and 6-5 senior guard Jamal Hunter. Part of the reason was because of the absence of sophomore guard Kevin Forney, who was serving a one-game suspension for fighting in the Dukes' previous game against George Washington and did not make the trip.

'We did pretty well with that group in there,' Porter said, referring to the first half, when Duquesne took control from the start and built a 13-point lead.

'We were doing a good job at the start,' Porter said. 'But we had far too many turnovers to win the ballgame.'

The Dukes' 25 miscues included 21 Fordham steals and has become a familiar result in Duquesne's collapse.

'We just have to continue to focus more than we do when we see the lead slipping away,' said Hunter, who scored a career-high 15 points while playing 30 minutes in his first career start.

Junior forward Wayne Smith of Duquesne, who has been saddled with injuries for much of the season, played just 17 minutes after leaving early in the second half with bruised ribs. Smith gave Duquesne an early 6-0 lead with consecutive 3-pointers in the game's first minute.

'I was feeling really good, then Wayne got hurt diving for a ball,' Porter said.

With the Dukes leading 28-15, Fordham began a comeback that led to a 38-38 halftime tie. The Rams held the Dukes scoreless for a span of more than six minutes while cutting into the lead. Fordham finally went ahead 35-34 on a layup by Teremun Johnson, who scored a game-high 26 points, with 1:26 remaining in the first half.

But Courtney Wallace, who led Duquesne with 24 points and eight assists, flipped in a layup with 1.5 seconds remaining to knot the halftime score at 38-38.

'Wallace can play. He's a really good player,' Fordham coach Bob Hill said. 'If he took the game a little more seriously, he'd be even better. He spent half the night smiling. I don't know how you can smile when you're 1-11.'

Wallace, who scored 26 points in Duquesne's 89-88 loss to Fordham last season at the Palumbo Center, could be seen smiling on many occasions after committing a foul or a turnover, which likely can be attributed to his frustration over the Dukes' continued failure on the court.

'Losing affects you more when you're in the game than when you're on the bench,' Hunter said. 'You feel like you're responsible.'

And Wallace is a fixture in the Duquesne lineup, having taken over the team lead in scoring average since Smith's production has declined in recent games.

Smith started the second half for Duquesne, which went up 41-38 on a three-point play by Hunter, but writhed in pain in front of the Duquesne bench after twisting himself on a pass. He left the court and did not return. Porter said he was to be evaluated further today after the team returned home.

That's when Fordham began to take over. The Rams pushed the lead to 13 points on the strength of a 9-0 run, leading 62-49 with 13:03 left.

Duquesne could not get the deficit under 10 until freshman forward Jon Pawlak buried a 3-point shot with 1 second remaining to set the final margin at 7 points.

Bevon Robin added 24 points, and Duke Freeman-McKamey 16 for Fordham. Others in double figures for Duquesne were Jack May, with a a career-high 16, and Charles Stanfield, with 12.

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