Red and Blue Top Big Red in Final Seconds, 70-69

Dec. 31, 2003

Box Score | Quotes | Notes

Jimmy Tricco's 3-pointer off an inbounds pass with 12 seconds left proved to be the game-winner as Duquesne rallied from a 12-point second half deficit to defeat Cornell 70-69 at the Palumbo Center. Cody Toppert hit 8 3-pointers in scoring a career-high 31 for Cornell. Jack Higgins came off the bench to score 17 in 16 minutes for Duquesne.

Cornell jumped out to a 38-30 halftime lead behind 17 points from Toppert, who gave the Big Red a lead they would not relinquish until Tricco's 3-pointer, when he hit the fourth of five first half 3-pointers at the 6:20 mark of the first half. Cornell extended its lead to 60-48 on a layup by Ka'Ron Barnes with 8:52 remaining.

Higgins, who hit all six of his second half field goal attempts, scored nine of the Dukes' next 11 points to cut the lead to four before Barnes, who finished the game with 16 points, drilled a deep 3-pointer late in the shot clock to up the lead to seven. Duquesne's Ron Dokes then scored on consecutive possessions to make the score 66-63 with 2:09 left.

Dokes hit one of two free throws with 1:09 left to cut the lead to two before Toppert answered with his eighth 3-pointer of the game to make the score 69-65 with 37 seconds remaining. Higgins cut the lead to two on his third 3-pointer of the game with 15 seconds on the clock. Duquesne then forced a five second call to gain possession under its own basket.

Following a timeout, Tricco came off a Dokes screen and drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner to give the Dukes their first lead since the first half. Cornell advanced the ball to midcourt before calling a timeout. Duquesne, which had one foul to give, fouled Barnes with 4.7 seconds left. Cornell then inbounded the ball to Barnes who was closely guarded by Higgins. Barnes drove the right side of the lane in traffic and was not able to get off a shot before time expired.



Higgins scored 14 points in 10 second half minutes to key the Duquesne comeback. Tricco finished with 15 and Bryant McAllister also scored 15 before leaving the game with an ankle injury with 2:24 remaining. Duquesne played three quarters of the game without leading scorer and rebounder Elijah Palmer who suffered a scratched cornea mid-way through the first half. Dokes led the Dukes with 11 rebounds.

Toppert and Barnes were the story for Cornell, combining for 47 of the Big Red's 69 points. Gabe Stephenson pulled down 11 rebounds for CU. Duquesne, which outshot Cornell 51.9 to 35.5 percent in the second half, finished the game 47.1 percent from the field. Cornell, which went 13-of-29 from the 3-point arc, shot 36.8 percent. Cornell outrebounded the Dukes 41-36 with 21 of the boards coming at the offensive end.

Duquesne opens Atlantic 10 play on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2004 as they travel to Richmond for a 7:30 pm contest.


Cornell led from the 6:20 mark of the first half to the 12 second mark of the game ... Higgins was 6-of-6 from the field in the second half and 7-of-10 for the game ... 12 of Duquesne's 16 turnovers came in the first half ... Elijah Palmer did not score and had three rebounds in eight minutes before leaving the game with a scratched cornea in his left eye.


Duquesne head coach Danny Nee:

"We never panicked. I thought Cornell outplayed us for 38 or 39 minutes, but when the game was on the line we executed. The experience of [overtime losses at] Minnesota, Akron and West Virginia paid off. You have to have a little luck, and we've been unlucky. The worm finally turned. We lost Palmer in the first half and McAllister down the stretch and were still able to pull it out."

-- On having Jimmy Tricco shoot the final 3-pointer:

"Its like coaching Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds, you let your hitters hit and you let your shooters shoot."

Duquesne guard/forward Jimmy Tricco:

"One thing I like about coach Nee is that he sticks with you. When the game is on the line, I want the ball in my hands. That particular inbounds play we hadn't run all game. It was designed to pop two of us [along with Higgins] outside for a 3-pointer. We struggled throughout the game. We missed a lot of shots, but we stuck with it. Jack Higgins gave us a big boost in the second half. We kept our confidence in one another."

Duquesne guard Jack Higgins:

"We've had so many close games. We've been there before. We just had to pull it out, to dig down at the end."


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