By Joe Catullo Jr.
Despite a first-year head coach and two returning starters, the Duquesne Dukes looked like an experienced and solidified team against Youngstown State Wednesday night.
One day after a heartbreaking loss to James Madison, YSU could not shake off the rust against the young Dukes, falling 84-74. And for the second straight night, coach Jerry Slocum was the first to enter the locker room.
Wednesday marked the third and final game in the Progressive Legends Classic. YSU lost all three games, becoming the lone team out of four to do so. The Penguins were the only unbeaten team (3-0) when the tournament began on Monday.
YSU made the game interesting late in the second half. Fed up with his team not getting foul calls, the referees called a technical foul on Slocum. Both free throws were good, and the Dukes led 71-60.
Eight points by Shawn Amiker after the technical helped spark the Penguins to a 12-6 run until a little more than one minute remained. The Dukes, though, did not give in and finished strong.
Kendrick Perry led the Penguins with 15 points and five assists. After the game, he was honored by being named to the all-tournament team. Damian Eargle added 14 points.
Leading the Dukes’ charge were Derrick Colter and Quevyn Winters with 18 points apiece.
After YSU jumped to a quick 5-0 lead, the Dukes went on a 17-2 scoring run until 13:09 remained on the clock. During the stretch, Amiker drew two personal fouls, forcing Slocum to bench him. Amiker remained in foul trouble, tallying two more within the first five minutes of the second half.
Eargle, who led his team with 17 points on Tuesday, also ran into foul trouble. He collected two in the first half and eventually was whistled for his fourth at the 14:31 mark in the second half.
Freshman Bobby Hain helped pick up the slack later in the first half, scoring six straight at one point and cutting the deficit to eight. Hain was honored with the Horizon League Co-Newcomer of the Week for his 19-point, 11-rebound performance on Nov. 12 against George Washington.
The Penguins trailed, 42-33, at halftime after trailing by as many as 13 in the first half. Eargle finished with a team-high 10 points while Perry scored seven.
YSU’s biggest concern in the first half was rebounding. The Dukes grabbed 27 boards (10 offensive) while the Penguins had just 14. Free throws were also a problem as YSU made just six in 10 attempts and Duquesne made five out of six.
The Penguins return to action against Kent State on Wednesday at Beeghly Center. Tip-off is 7:05 p.m.