PITTSBURGH, Pa. – After taking their largest lead of the game with just under two minutes remaining, Lamar University got outscored, 8-1, in the game’s final 1:32 and that proved to be the difference as Duquesne edged the Cardinals, 65-64, Tuesday evening at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
The loss drops LU to 8-3 (.727) on the year, and it marks the first time this season the team has suffered back-to-back losses.
The Cardinals were failed by their effort at the free throw line converting just 12-of-23 (.522) attempts. Big Red was also hurt by numerous layups that rimmed out. The Dukes (8-3) also made it to the free throw line 11 more times than LU due to a 27-20 disparity in fouls against the Cardinals. The Cardinals also got beat on the glass, 40-32, including 11-6 edge in offensive rebounds for Duquesne.
LU outshot the Dukes on their home floor. The Cards knocked down better than 44 percent of their shots, while Duquesne was held to a 19-of-48 (.396) performance. Normally an area of strength, the Cardinals only knocked down four three-pointers with all four coming in the second half.
“At the end of the day, we didn’t make the plays we needed to for a victory,” said LU head coach Tic Price. “We missed too many good looks at the basket, struggled at the free throw line and you can’t get beat on the glass the way we were tonight. We surrendered 11 offensive rebounds.”
The Cardinals got out to a quick start offensively knocking down five of their first eight attempts to build an early six-point advantage. While the Cards started quick Duquesne was scuffling hitting just 2-of-9 (.222) to start. LU held their hosts below 20 percent for much of the half.
Duquesne didn’t take their first lead of the game until the 5:03 mark following two free throws from Rene Castro-Caneddy. The Dukes hit two three-pointers late in the half to claim a four-point advantage before taking a 29-26 lead into the locker room.
The Cardinals (10-of-27/.370) outshot Duquesne in the opening 20 minutes but were hurt by missed layups, free throws and fouls. The Cardinals had several opportunities in the opening half from point blank range that rimmed out. LU shot just 6-of-13 from the stripe during that stretch and were called for 16 fouls in the opening 20 minutes.
Despite holding the lead for the majority of the second half, Duquesne was never able to separate itself from LU. Duquesne built a five-point advantage twice in the final 20 minutes only to see the Cardinals answer. The Cards reclaimed the lead on a three-pointer from senior James Harrison at the 14:07, but the advantage was short lived. Trailing by three with 5:33 remaining, the Cardinals got consecutive baskets from senior Joy Frenchwood, including a three-pointer, to give LU back a one-point advantage, 55-54.
After two Duquesne free throws, the Cardinals got another basket from Frenchwood. The layup sparked a 7-0 run giving the Cards a 64-57 lead with less than 2:00 to play, but it would be the final LU field goal. The Dukes got two three-pointers from Mike Lewis in the final minute of the game to reclaim the lead, and they didn’t relinquish it. LU could manage just one free throw during that stretch as they were outscored, 8-1, in the game’s final 1:32.
“I’m proud of how our guys continued to fight,” said Price. “We had several opportunities where we could’ve quit and we never did, but you have to make plays. Tonight we didn’t do that.”
Lewis scored 15 of his game-high 16 points in the second half to lead the Dukes. The Cardinals were led by 14 points from senior Colton Weisbrod and sophomore T.J. Atwood. Harrison came off the bench to score 12 points.
The Cardinals return to action Friday, Dec. 22, when they travel to Las Vegas, Nev., to take on UC Davis. The game against the Aggies will tip off at 2:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. Beaumont time) from the Orleans Arena.