"We just weren't quick enough in reacting inside," head coach John Beilein lamented after the loss. "We're still analyzing a little bit too much instead of just reacting."
Despite Dokes' play, WVU never quit and made things very interesting as the clock ticked down. Trailing by seven points, walkon Nick Patella hit a layup with 5.5 seconds to go. Following a Duquesne turnover, fellow freshman Kevin Pittsnogle banked in a three point shot to cut the lead to two with .6 seconds left.
Duquesne then hurled a full court pass that was headed out of bounds without being touched, but before the ball reached the end line WVU's Tyrone Sally was whistled for an intentional foul that gave two free throws, the ball and the game to the homestanding Dukes.
After trailing by 17 points early in the second half, West Virginia rallied several times against their bigger opponents. The Mountaineers cut the lead to six points at 47-41 on a Drew Schifino hoop, and later narrowed the margin to 55-50 on a Patrick Beilein three pointer. However, Duquense countered by repeatedly getting the ball inside to the 6-9 240 pound Dokes, who maneuvered his way at will through the lane for several layups and slams. Duquesne hit their free throws in the waning minutes of the game to preserve their win.
WVU's rallies were led by Schifino, who twisted and turned his way to a career high 33 points.
"I'm proud of our team," head coach John Beilein said after the loss. "They stayed in the game plan and didn't panic, even though it was close to being a blowout. I liked the way we competed and stayed with it. I know we didn't win, but we grew a little bit as a team."
In the opening half, the teams traded early leads before the Mountaineers went on a five point spurt to take the lead at 13-9. Kevin Pittsnogle had four points in the early going while Schifino added two at the end of the run on a midrange jumper to push the margin to four.
The Dukes quickly responded with an 11-0 run of their own as the Mountaineers were slow to get back in defensive transition on a couple of occasions. Duquesne pushed the ball upcourt effectively during the opening period and took advantage of a number of West Virginia defensive errors to generate several easy scores. The Dukes then pushed the lead out to sixteen points at the half on the strength of Dokes's inside play. Dokes had 12 points, fueled by 6 for 8 shooting from the free throw line, as West Virginia scored just five points in the last nine minutes.
"We had a couple of "my turn" possessions there that cost us," Beilein said of the Duquesne run. "Those are where someone says 'I haven't shot the ball in a while, so it's my turn.'"
WVU now has five days to prepare for a home clash with James Madison. The James Madison Dukes (West Virginia's second opponent in a row with that nickname) visit the Coliseum on Saturday for a 7:00 p.m. contest.
Walkon freshman Nick Patella saw his first action of the season with three minutes to go in the second half. He hit a pair of free throws with 25 seconds to go for his first points as a Mountaineer, and added a layup in the closing seconds of WVU's final rally that just feel short.
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Tyrone Sally took a scary spill when he was undercut on an offensive rebound attempt midway through the second half. Sally landed on his left shoulder and arm and was helped from the floor, but returned a few minutes later.
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Patrick Beilein turned an ankle and was icing it after fouling out late in the contest.
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WVU's forwards were shut down for most of the night. Josh Yeager, Chaz Briggs and Tyrone Sally combined for just six points.