La Salle Edges Dukes, 82-79, at A-10 Champs

Reggie Jackson's 21 second half points helped erase a 3-point halftime deficit, gave DU a 7-point second half lead, and a late 79-76 edge only to see La Salle's Darnell Harris power the Explorers to an 82-79 decision over DU in a first round game at the Atlantic 10 Conference Men's Basketball Championship Wednesday evening at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.

Box Score

Reggie Jackson had a career-high 29 points, including all six free throws after being fouled on a pair of treys, to lead the Dukes. Gary Tucker added 12, Shawn James 11 and Aaron Jackson tallied 10 points. James also had seven rebounds and four blocks and Kieron Achara dished out a team-best four assists.

La Salle (15-16) had the early edge. Aaron Jackson's layup gave Duquesne their first lead, 16-15, with 15:21 to go in the first half. After the lead seesawed, Kieron Achara's trey put the Dukes back up, 23-20 and Bill Clark's layup got it to 25-20 with 10:56 on the clock.

A Reggie Jackson three-pointer broke a 25-25 tie and James's trey made it 31-25. La Salle put together a 14-5 run for the 39-36 halftime advantage.

Duquesne (17-13) charged back to open the second half and used a 25-18 run to take a 61-59 lead capped by Achara's layup with just over 10 minutes left to play.

The Dukes extended their edge to seven, at 67-60 and 72-65, but were unable to deliver the knock out blow. La Salle chipped away and finally tied the game, 79-79, in the final minute. The Explorers hit three of four free throws for the 82-79 win.

La Salle was led by Darnell Harris's 21 points, Rodney Green's 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and 12 points from Yves Mekongo Mbala. Jerrell Williams and Kimini Barrett each scored 10.

The Explorers won two of three against the Dukes, a 75-72 victory in Pittsburgh and 82-79 tonight. Duquesne took the other contest, 101-84, in Philadelphia.

Duquesne was the number 10 seed and has been eliminated from further A-10 play after the first round for the second straight season. The Dukes lost both games by a total of four points; last year, Saint Louis won 78-77.

Number seven La Salle will face another Philadelphia Big 5 team, Temple, in the A-10 quarterfinals, Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The Owls (18-12) are the number two seed with an 11-5 mark in A-10 play. The two teams met in the regular season finale this past Saturday with Temple taking an 85-66 win at Tom Gola Arena.

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