Dukes Edged By Owls
March 5, 2008
PHILADELPHIA - Dionte Christmas scored 24 of his career-high 37 points in the second half and Sergio Olmos added a career-best 16 to help Temple hold off Duquesne 90-85 at the Liacouras Center.
Duquesne (16-12, 6-9) fell to 11th place in the Atlantic 10 Conference with the loss. The Dukes are a half-game up on 12th place George Washington (9-15, 5-9) and one game ahead of 13th place Fordham (11-16, 5-10) with one game to play.
Duquesne can clinch a spot in the 12-team Atlantic 10 Championship with either a GW loss at Charlotte Thursday night, or a win over Saint Louis (16-13, 7-8) in the regular-season finale on Saturday at the Palumbo Center.
DU would also qualify if GW loses its last two, regardless of the outcome of Saturday's game.
Temple (17-12, 10-5) clinched second place in the conference with the win.
"You have to take your hat off to Dionte Christmas," said Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart. "He made some tough shots. We had 19 turnovers, and that just can't happen. Every other item in the stat column looked good aside from that."
Duquesne trailed by 10 with just over 12 minutes left when Kojo Mensah, who scored all 14 of his points in the second half, keyed a 10-0 run with a pair of 3-pointers and two free throws to tie the score at 62-62 with 10:17 left.
Temple upped the lead to eight at the 4:37 mark before Reggie Jackson hit a jumper and Achara made his career-high fifth 3-pointer of the game to cut the lead to 77-74.
The Dukes cut it to three two more times, the last coming on an Achara basket and free throw at the 1:27 mark. From that point on, the Owls hit 8-of-8 free throw attempts to pull away for the win.
Temple shot .554 from the field, while Duquesne, which made a season-high 13 3-pointers, finished at .519.
Duquesne, playing without leading scorer (13.2 ppg.) and rebounder (7.1 rpg.) Shawn James, who was back in Pittsburgh with a shoulder injury, was outscored 40-20 in the paint. The Dukes blocked a season-low one shot without the 6-10 James - who ranks fifth nationally in blocked shots per game (4.1) - in the lineup.
DU did manage to outrebound the Owls 30-27, including an 18-9 advantage in the second half.
"Our rebounding got us back in the game," said Everhart, whose Dukes trailed 45-38 at the half. "We didn't guard them well enough, especially in transition, in the first half."
Duquesne completes the regular season at home on Saturday against Saint Louis (16-13, 708) at 4:00 p.m. (FSN Pittsburgh locally). It is the final home game for DU seniors Reggie Jackson and Gary Tucker and graduate student Kieron Achara.