Duquesne had a 14-point first half lead but were outscored 20-3 after that as Nicholls State led by three at the break. A 19-0 second half run, started by sophomore Melquan Bolding, put the Dukes on top for good.
The Colonials cut their deficit to four twice, only to see a 13-6 run give Duquesne its largest first half lead, 30-16, with 6:51 remaining.
The Dukes didn't take a recorded shot (two shooting fouls called) from that point on, getting their three additional points from the charity stripe. Nicholls scored 20 and had a 36-33 halftime lead.
Wonder how Duquesne managed to be shotless at the end of the half? The Red & Blue committed nine of its 12 first half turnovers in those 411 seconds, though 911 might have made more sense.
The request for help was surely answered in the locker room. Duquesne started the final 20 minutes with a much more determined attitude and all starters -- Saunders, Bolding, junior Bill Clark, sophomore Eric Evans and senior Jason Duty -- back on the floor,
Some may have wondered when Saunders lost the ball to Anatoly Bose 12 seconds in. But Damian stole it back and made the period's first score, a fastbreak layup, before a half-minute was gone.
A layup by Clark tied the score at 41; Bose evened it at 43; and Clark's free throws made it 45-all.
Bolding's jumper put the Dukes ahead 47-45. Bose's three changed the leader before another jump shot from the New Yorker put Duquesne on top for good, 49-48, with 12:07 remaining.
Bose hit one of two free throws, making Duquesne's run to 68-49 a 19-1 event, 6:51 on the clock. NSU was unable to further cut into the deficit, which DU extended to as many as 26 points (80-54).
Duquesne had three guys in double figures: Bolding with 25, Clark at 19, and Saunders, who had a double-double with his career best 19 rebounds, with 17 points. Evans had a career-best nine assists, Saunders a game-best four steals.
Duquesne's next challenge is with the Big Ten's Iowa Hawkeyes in Iowa City in an O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic preliminary game, Tuesday, November 17, 2009, at 9:05 p.m. EST. The game will be telecast on ESPNU.