If Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot was worried about losing his hair because of all the close games the Dukes are playing, nothing changed Wednesday night at Palumbo Center. And he didn’t mind a bit.
The Dukes played their eighth consecutive game decided by a single-digit margin — every game in January — while rallying to a dramatic 75-72 victory against Rhode Island.
The Dukes trailed, 41-22, at halftime before coming out of the locker room for second half in a full-court press. Frankie Hughes led four Duquesne players in double-figure scoring with 20 points, including five 3-pointers. He scored every point in the second half.
The last with 43 seconds left in the game gave Duquesne a 73-72 lead. Point guard Sincere Carry, playing on a sore knee hit two foul shots to finish with 16 points and seal the victory.
Marcus Weathers and Michael Hughes added 12 points each.
The Dukes, who have won six of their past seven, improved to 15-6, 6-2 in the Atlantic 10. Rhode Island fell to 11-9, 4-4.
Both teams played at a fast pace early in the game, and that eventually worked in favor of Rhode Island and its quickness.
After the Dukes took their last lead, 14-12, at 13:16, URI dominated play on both ends of the court to lead by 19 at intermission.
Duquesne was scoreless for the final 5 minutes, 49 seconds while Rhode Island scored 11 unanswered points.
Dambrot remarked before the game that his team needed to play better defense to contend in the Atlantic 10.
But the Dukes could not counteract URI’s quick moves to the basket, and Rhode Island ended up shooting 50 percent (16 of 32) in the first half. On the other end of the court, the Dukes were stalled by poor shooting (10 of 31) and 10 turnovers.
Rhode Island’s Cyril Langevine came into the game averaging a near double-double (13.8 points, 9.8 rebounds). If he records a double-double at the end of the season, he will become the first URI player to do so in 28 years. He finished the first half with 16 points and four rebounds, and ended up with 24 and eight.
Fatts Russell, Rhode Island’s 5-foot-10, 165-pound point guard, led both teams with six rebounds at the half, but had none after halftime.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry at [email protected] or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.