Early second-half surge lifts Duquesne over Golden Eagles

Early second-half surge lifts Duquesne over Golden Eagles

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Tennessee Tech discovered its shooting stroke in the final minutes of Saturday night's game at Duquesne, but it was too little too late for the Golden Eagles to overcome their Atlantic 10 foes.

Tech fell 77-67 at the A.J. Palumbo Center, dropping its overall record to 3-4 on the season. Duquesne improved to 5-3.

Duquesne led by as many as 17 in the second half, but the Golden Eagles cut into the advantage, slicing the lead to eight when Zach Bailey sank a three-pointer with 2:02 remaining. Tech then began to foul in order to extend the game, but was done in by an inability to keep the Dukes off the offensive boards. The homestanding squad grabbed consecutive offensive rebounds off missed free-throws and went on to ice the game from the charity stripe.

After trailing by just four at halftime, the Golden Eagles lost their grip on the game out of the gate in the second half. Duquesne embarked on a 14-2 run to open the second half, scoring on their first six possessions, and Tech was never able to recover from the blitz. Of those 14 points, Duquesne's Sean Johnson scored six.

To their credit, the Golden Eagles hung around, keeping the deficit to between 10 and 15 points, but Tech eventually ran out of time.

In the first half, Duquesne jumped out to a 7-0 lead but the Golden Eagles charged back behind a Liam McMorrow dunk and a Kevin Murphy three-pointer to cut the advantage to two at 11-9. Tech tied the game at 14-all when Jud Dillard sank two free throws with 11:22 left in the half.

The Dukes slowly inched away, extending their lead to 10 at 30-20 with 3:11 remaining, but Tech scored six straight points on layups by Murphy, Dennis Ogbe and Bassey Inameti to cut the advantage back to four.

Tech put three scorers in double-figures, led by Kevin Murphy, who scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds. Zach Bailey was key in the Golden Eagles' late comeback push, sinking two late three-pointers and going 4-for-4 from the free-throw line, scoring all of his 14 points in the second half. Jud Dillard also contributed 14 points and eight boards. Zac Swansey distributed seven assists and added three steals while Bassey Inameti sent back three Duquesne shots.

Sean Johnson paced Duquesne with a career-high 25 points. Johnson also added six rebounds and was a perfect 7-for-7 from the free-throw line. In addition to Johnson's effort, the Dukes had three other double-figure scorers – B.J. Montero (18 points), Eric Evans (11 points) and T.J. McConnell (10 points). Andre Marhold added 11 rebounds to go with seven points.

The Dukes shot a better percentage than the Golden Eagles, hitting at a 50 percent clip for the night compared to 40 percent. The Golden Eagles were cold from three-point range, going 6-for-21. Duquesne shot 28 free throws compared to 15 for Tech. The Dukes were20-for-28 at the line while the Golden Eagles went 13-for-15.

Tech returns home to face East Tennessee State on Wednesday night. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. at Eblen Center.