What Happened in Opener with Nicholls State

Duquesne had 12 turnovers and were trailing 36-33 at the half. Just four more in the second period helped the Dukes outscore NSU, 52-26, for the 85-62 victory at Friday's season and home opener.

Duquesne's 2009-10 season opener may have started as expected. but some twists and turns needed to be dealt with before a "Red Auerbach" could light his cigar.

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.

Nicholls State's Kellan Carter opened the scoring. The Dukes ran off eight straight and had a 12-4 edge on junior Damian Saunders' layup six minutes into the game.

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.

Three players got off the bench in the first half, sophomore Morakinyo Williams, redshirt freshman Rodrigo Peggau and freshman Sean Johnson.

Peggau, Johnson, junior Lucas Newton, sophomore Chase Robinson, freshman Andre Marhold, came in with 1:42 remaining.

NSU was led by Bose's 23 points and Fred Hunter's seven rebounds. Chris Iles had five assists. Bose and Hunter had two steals apiece.

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.

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