The Dukes led by 16 points twice in the opening period, and were also resilitient int he face of West Virginia's one good stretch of play. After WVu cut the lead to four points at 27-23 with 3:15 to go, Duquesne pushed the lead back out to ten in just 1:30 of playing time. A Tyrone Sally free throw cut the margin to 34-25 at the half, but left little indication that the Mountaineers would mount a challenge in the second half.
"We weren't very efficient in the first half, but we hung in there," head coach John Beilein noted.
Schifino, who scored only two points in the opening period, took matters into his hand from the opening whistle of the second half. The Pittsburgh native, who finally got a win against a hometown team, hit a jumper to start West Virginia's rally.
Schifino made nine of his ten second half shots to fuel the comeback, and the Mountaineers needed every one of them to force overtime against a charged-up Duquesne squad.
WVU took their first lead of the game on a Schifino breakaway and dunk at 42-41, but the visitors immediately rallied to take the lead back at 44-43. After a D'or Fischer dunk on a fast break gave the Mountaineers the lead back at 50-49, the Dukes ripped off a 10-0 run to move ahead 59-50 with 7:57 to play.
The Mountaineers and Dukes then traded baskets for the next five minutes, and although WVU cut the lead slightly, they still trailed by seven with just 2:54 to play.
Then Schifino took complete charge of the game. The junior slasher hit a jumper, grabbed a defensive rebound, hit a three pointer, made one of two free throws, and then sank another three to tie the game at 75 and send it into overtime.
In overtime, Schifino hit a twisting, fadeaway jumper to give WVU a five point lead, and then blocked a Duquesne jumper with less than a minute to go to preserve the victory.
Schifino led all scorers with 29 points in 42 minutes of action. His minutes were high due to the absence of Frank Young, who missed the game to attend his grandmother's funeral. D'or Fischer had 12 points and five rebounds, and Tyrone Sally and Kevin Pittsnogle added ten each. For Duquesne, Jimmy Tricco had 20 points, while sub Jon Pawlak added 19.
The Dukes outrebounded West Virginia by seven, and dominated the boards in the first half to the extent that Beilein made the decision to play Jerrah Young for three minutes.
WVU (4-2) plays IUPUI Wednesday night at 7:00 at the Coliseum.