Dukes pull third "upset" over WVU

Wayne Smith brings his best for West Virginia. It happened again Saturday, as Smith scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Duquesne's 68-61 upset win.

The senior has single-handedly beat WVU three times in the last four years by averaging 19.5 points per game.

"He's the heart of our team," Duquesne first-year head coach Danny Nee said. "He makes mistakes, but he leads us, and that is really big. We jump on this win with two feet."

The Dukes were 0-12 on the road last season and lost 22 consecutive away games coming into the game. Their last road win came against George Washington on Jan. 8, 2000, the last nonconference road win against WVU on Nov. 30, 1999.

Smith scored 13 of Duquesne's last 17 points in a late first half run. He also sealed the game with a running jumper with 2:15 left to give the Dukes a 63-59 lead.

Trailing 5-0, Duquesne went on a 13-0 run before WVU caught up and both teams started trading baskets. The Dukes finished with a 15-8 run to lead 38-30 at the half.

"I didn't recognize our team out there," WVU head coach Gale Catlett said. "We couldn't do anything. We had trouble matching up with them because of their size."

The Dukes played three guards with Smith, which allowed the forward to use his driving ability and play on the perimeter more.

Smith scored nine points during the late first-half push, including a jumpshot, putback and three-pointer.

"I had a sense of urgency out there," he said. "I knew we were due for a road win. It's been awhile."

Both streaks snapped thanks largely to WVU's three of 18 performance from three-point range and 21 of 58 shooting overall. It was their worst shooting percentage of the season.

The Dukes extended their lead to 52-39 with 11:44 left before WVU made its final charge. The Mountaineers ripped off 17 straight points to retake the lead, 53-52.

Chris Moss and Tyrone Sally scored nine points in the run. They were WVU's leading scorers with 16 and 10 points, respectively. Moss tied a game-high with 10 rebounds.

"I knew they were going to make a run; I was just hoping we wouldn't have a meltdown," Nee said. "I just kept telling the kids not to quit."

They didn't. The Dukes knotted the contest at 59-59 before Jamal Hunter hit two free throws and Smith connected on the jumper to seal the win.

Duquesne limited WVU to five shots, all threes, in the last 6:31. The Mountaineers had a season-high 22 turnovers.

"This team tries to be cool, they don't guard people," Catlett said. "That doesn't work. I don't think our kids were ready to play. I think we were looking forward to playing Tennessee. They overlooked Duquesne, and that's dangerous."

Forward Jon Pawlak, the Dukes' tallest player at 6-9, came off the bench to score eight points on eight of nine foul shooting. He had taken just five free throws coming into the game.

"I'm a sophomore, and we haven't won a road game since I have been here," he said. "This feels great. Smith played really well, and that kept us all going. We can use this for the future."

Duquesne made its first 14 free throws and 21 of 26 overall.

Kevin Forney added 10 points for the Dukes. Brad Midgley scored 10 points off the bench. Aaron Lovelace had 10 rebounds.

Duquesne had eight scholarship players in uniform. Freshman center Simplice Njoya, 6-foot-10, is being held out for a pending NCAA investigation for possible rules violations during his recruiting. Chris Clark, a 6-foot-10 forward, was also out because of academic problems.

Still, West Virginia could manage just a 40-39 edge in rebounding.

The win was Duquesne's first in the WVU Coliseum since 1979-80.

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