PSU beats Duquesne on crazy finish
PITTSBURGH — With Penn State and Duquesne tied with less than 10 seconds remaining, Penn State’s Lamar Stevens did a little freelancing.
The Nittany Lions had two timeouts and the plan was to stop and set up a play after Stevens dribbled the ball across the half-court line. But Stevens saw an opening and drove past Duquesne’s Marcus Weathers and into a collision in the paint.
“That wasn’t the plan,” Stevens said. “I got the ball, I saw a lane and I thought I could beat my defender.”
When the dust settled, Penn State walked away with a controversial and improbable 73-67 victory.
When Stevens cut to his left, he collided with Mike Hughes. Both players hit the ground and Hughes was called for a blocking foul and Stevens would have two chances to give the Lions a lead with 5.4 seconds left.
But that was not to be the situation.
Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot had leapt into the air, charged toward mid-court in reaction to the foul call and was assessed a technical foul.
Incensed, Dambrot had to be restrained by his players and assistants. He was given another technical foul and ejected from the game. Rasir Bolton and Stevens made all six free throws to win the game for Penn State.
“I really don’t have any problem with the foul calls. Those are judgement calls,” Dambrot said. “At that point, though, the technical foul was a little quick. You can’t do that. That’s just disrespectful. They’re not doing that to Coach K.”
“It’s unfortunate,” Penn State coach Pat Chambers said. “Keith is a really good coach. Obviously, he saw something that he didn’t like.”
The end of the game overshadowed a tough performance by the Dukes, who got 21 points from Eric Williams, Jr. and were in the lead for over 22 minutes.
“It leaves a bad taste in your mouth,” Hughes said.
Duquesne: Still has not won a game against a major-conference opponent since beating Pitt on Dec. 2, 2016. The Dukes’ three losses this season came against such competition, losing at Notre Dame on Nov. 20 and to Pitt on Nov. 30.
Penn State: Continues to struggle with consistency. The Lions beat then-No. 13 Virginia Tech in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge on Nov. 27, but dropped their first two games in conference play and also lost to NC State before needing a strong second-half run to put away the Dukes.
“That’s just how it goes sometimes,” Stevens said. “You’ve got to fight through the adversity. I thought we did a really good job of staying level-headed and fighting back when things weren’t going our way.”
Stevens finished with 25 points to lead the Lions, with 19 of them coming in the second half. He got into some foul trouble early, and Chambers thought it made him hesitant.
“I think it was in his head,” Chambers said. “Lamar has got to continue to play aggressive and let me coach him through one or two fouls.”
Duquesne: Continues a season-long stretch of nine games in Pittsburgh by hosting Eastern Kentucky on Saturday afternoon.
Penn State: Will immediately travel to Alabama for a game on Friday night, the Lions’ final road non-conference game of the season.