Dukes Turn Back Richmond, 81-72
Feb. 4, 2012
PITTSBURGH - Eric Evans scored 15 of his team-high 17 points in the second half to lead Duquesne to an 81-72 win over Richmond in the annual Chuck Cooper Classic at the Palumbo Center. The victory ended a 14-game series losing streak for the Dukes (14-9, 5-4) who played before a sellout "red out" crowd of 4,481.
Kendall Anthony led Richmond (12-12, 3-6) with a game-high 21.
The Dukes, wearing red throwback uniforms in honor of Cooper - the first African-American player drafted by the National Basketball Association in 1950 - stormed out to a 9-0 lead in front of a charged-up crowd.
DU, which never trailed, upped the lead to 27-17 on an Evans layup before managing just one field goal over the next 4:46 as Richmond pulled to within one on a Derrick Williams free throw with 2:30 to go. DU turned a two-point advantage into a 35-29 lead on a Monteiro tip-in followed by a McConnell steal and layup. The steal was the third of a game-high four for McConnell. Cedrick Lindsey, who finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, hit a pair of free throws with six seconds left to make it 35-31 at the half.
The Dukes outscored the Spiders 15-1 off turnovers in the opening 20 minutes. UR hit three of its five first half 3-pointers - including two by 6-11 Josh Duinker - in the last 7:44 to stay within striking range.
DU opened the second half with an 8-1 run with Evans scoring three times on drives in a three minute span.
"We tried to take advantage of some mismatch situations and were able to get to the rim and draw some fouls," said Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart who was 0-5 against the Spiders. "We just seemed to find a way tonight. Collectively it was a team effort."
Duquesne took its first 16-point lead on the second of two Jones free throws with 8:23 left. The Dukes missed four of five shots and four free throws over the next two minutes as UR cut it to 60-48 on a Wayne Sparrow 3-pointer at the 6:11 mark.
The Spiders pulled to within 10 on another Sparrow 3-pointer before Evans banked in a long 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer to give DU a 71-58 lead and swing the momentum back to the Dukes. Jones followed with another three to make it a 16-point game with 2:01 to go.
Duquesne missed four of its next 10 free throws as UR cut it to 79-72 on an Anthony 3-pointer with 38 seconds left. McConnell hit a pair of free throws with 31 seconds left for the final margin.
The Dukes outscored the Spiders 24-6 off turnovers to counteract 10 Richmond 3-pointers. DU finished 18-of-31 from the foul line with all 13 misses coming in the second half.
"We decided to roll the dice and pressure the ball," said Everhart. "We thought if we played small we could bother them a little bit. This should give us a little confidence, and that's one thing we've lacked during the year."
Duquesne is idle until Saturday when it heads to Olean, N.Y. to face St. Bonaventure in a CBS Sports Network regionally televised game on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 4:00 p.m.
The win ended a 14-game losing streak to Richmond and gives sixth-year head coach Ron Everhart a victory over all 14 Atlantic 10 members ... DU's previous series win over Richmond was on Nov. 28, 1994 (62-56) at the Palumbo Center ... Duquesne led the series 8-0 before UR joined the A-10 prior to the 2001-02 season.
The game was played before a sellout crowd of 4,481 ... it was the first Palumbo Center sellout since Feb. 7, 2009 (a 72-68 win over No. 9 (AP) Xavier) ... DU's last home sellout was last year against Xavier at CONSOL Energy Center (10,509 using CONSOL's flexible seating configuration).
Eric Evans had missed 10 consecutive 3-pointers over a span of five home games before banking in a three at the shot clock buzzer to give DU a 13-point lead with 2:42 to go ... Evans' last Palumbo Center 3-pointer was on Dec. 28 against Bowling Green.
With his 17 points, Evans upped his career total to 991.
Duquesne outrebounded Richmond 39-31 ... Jerry Jones led the way with a career high 8 in 24 minutes off the bench.