Whittington Goes Off, But Broncos Fall to Duquesne
Whittington powered the Broncos' offense, especially as they attempted to claw back into fray in the second half. Whittington set a new career-high with 20 points, and his 10 rebounds gave him a team-leading three double-doubles on the season. The Broncos out-scored the Dukes 26-20 in the paint, but Duquesne poured in 12 three-pointers to take the edge over the Broncos.
The strongest part of the game for the Broncos came after they watched the Dukes expand the lead in the early part of the second half. Duquesne went on a 13-4 run to start the second half, taking a 49-36 lead with 15:09 to play, but the Broncos fought back and pulled to within one possession five minutes later. Connar Tava scored four straight points for the Broncos, kicking off the run by stripping the ball from Derrick Colter at the 15:00 mark and scoring on a fast break lay-up. Tava would strike again at the 13:16 mark, drawing a foul from the Dukes' Martins Abele and making a pair of free throws to cut the Dukes' lead to nine points.
Brandon Pokley made a pair of free throws at the 12:12 mark to cut the deficit to 49-42, and Darius Paul hit a hook shot at the 11:21 mark to make it a two-posession ball game. Whittington took an inlet pass from Taylor Perry and laid it in to make it just a three-point game, and Jared Klein matched that feat at the 8:34 mark when he stepped into a three-pointer to make it 54-51.
The closest the Broncos would get for the remainder of the contest was four points, when a flagrant foul by Duquesne's Jeremiah Jones bloodied Nate Hutcheson and put him on the line. Hutcheson made a pair of free throws, and the Broncos scored on the ensuing possession when Pokley drew a foul and made both of his charity shots. The Dukes countered with a pair of makes of their own, and the Broncos would go cold from the field until Austin Richie drained an NBA-range three-pointer with 13 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 71-66. The Dukes were unable to tack on, but they kept the Broncos at bay and did not allow them another chacne to score.
The first half was a fairly tight affair, with the Broncos responding to the Dukes' early run by pulling to within two possessions at half. Duquesne led by eight points with 6:01 remianing in the half, but Whittington cut into the lead with a lay-up off a lob from Austin Richie, and Tava would make a lay-up at the 4:30 mark to cut the deficit to three points. Hutcheson made it just a two-point game at the 3:06 mark when he buried a three-pointer from the corner, and Perry kept it close with a triple from just beyond the head of the key at the 1:19 mark. Whittington scored on a lay-up with 14 seconds remaining in the half to make it 36-32.