La Salle Outlasts Dukes Comeback, 71-66
March 1, 2003
Philadelphia, PA -
Duquesne rallied from a 17-point first half deficit to take a one-point lead with just over two minutes to go but could not hold on in a 71-66 loss at La Salle.
The Dukes, who whittled the La Salle lead from 14 to 2 over a 12 minute span of the second half, took their first lead of the half at 66-65 on a Brad Midgley jumper with 2:15 left. The Dukes would not score again as the Explorers hit six consecutive free throws in the final 1:15 to seal the win.
Duquesne had the ball down three with 18 seconds left, but could not get off a shot as a Bryant McAllister pass intended for Jimmy Tricco went out of bounds. La Salle's Mike Cleaves then hit the Explorers' 27th and 28th free throws of the game for the final margin.
Duquesne, who jumped out to a 10-0 lead, saw that advantage erased by a 40-19 La Salle run to close out the half. The Explorers held the Dukes scoreless for a 5:26 span during the run. In the second half, it was Duquesne's turn to put the clamps on as the Dukes limited La Salle to just four field goals in 28 attempts (14.3%).
For the game, La Salle went 28-36 from the free throw line, including a 22-27 effort in the second half. David Bell and Gary Neal led La Salle with 19 points each. Elijah Palmer led Duquesne with 15 points and eight rebounds. Simplice Njoya added 14 and McAllister finished with 13 for the Dukes.
Duquesne, who outshot La Salle 50 percent to 30.5 percent on the afternoon was its own worst enemy with 20 turnovers that led to 25 La Salle points.
Junior Elijah Palmer paced the Dukes with 15 points, 11 in the first half, and eight rebounds. Sophomore Simplice Njoya added 14 and freshman Bryant McAllister 13 points. La Salle's Gary Neal and David Bell had game-high 19 points including 11-of-13 from the free throw stripe. Neal added a game-high 11 rebounds.
Duquesne started out strong and took a 10-0 lead to open the game. La Salle charged back to get within two at 16-14 followed by an 18-0 run and then settled for a 40-29 first half lead.
La Salle pushed the lead to 14 points early in the second half and remained up at 64-57 with five minutes to play. The Dukes then went on a 9-1 surge, moving ahead at 66-65 on senior Brad Midgley's head-on 17-foot jump shot with 2:09 left in the contest.
Both teams' missed on their scoring attempts following Exporers' coach Billy Hahn's time out. Then on La Salle's next set, DU senior Kevin Forney was charged with his fifth foul as he tried to get to guard Gary Neal. Reserve forward Joel-Jean Baptiste canned both free throws, giving La Salle the edge at 67-66 with 1:15 left. After the teams exchanged another set of missed jumpers, Duquesne was forced to foul. The Expolorers downed four more charity tosses for the final 71-65.
Duquesne shot 50 percent (25-50) from the floor but just 23.5% (4-17) from three-point range. La Salle hit 7-of-19 (36.8%) from behind the arc and 77.8 percent (28-of-36) from the free throw line. LSU held the rebounding (36-34) and turnover (13-20) edges, though the Dukes commtted only six turnovers in the second half. The Explorers hit just 18 of their 59 shots from the floor (30.5%) while the Dukes made 80 percent (12-15) of their free throws.-->
As part of a national initiative, both La Salle's Billy Hahn and Duquesne's Danny Nee wore bow ties in honor of coaching legend Jim Phelan who will retire from Mount St. Mary's at the end of this season. Going into tonight's regular season finale against Central Connecticut State, the Philadelphia native's record is 827-518, third most all-time behind Dean Smith and Adolph Rupp.
Duquesne head coach Danny Nee
Duquesne completes the 2002-03 regular season at home vs. Rhode Island (15-10, 7-7) on Saturday, Mar. 8 (4:00 p.m.). The URI matchup is the final home game for seniors Demetrius Charles, Chris Clark, Kevin Forney and Brad Midgley. In addition, Chris' younger brother Jon is a freshman with the Rams.