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Duquesne University
Basketball: Dukes thumped, 84-47

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

By Ray Fittipaldo, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

RICHMOND, Va. -- Ten days ago, Duquesne and Richmond played a spirited contest at the Palumbo Center. In a back-and-forth game, Richmond survived and won by six points, but it wasn't easy.

Last night at Richmond, the only suspense was whether the Spiders would hand the Dukes their worst loss of the season. Richmond didn't top the 50-point margin of defeat the University of Maryland handed the Dukes in November, but it dominated from the onset and cruised to an 84-47 victory before 3,816 at the Robbins Center.

It was the second time in three games the Dukes lost by 35 points or more.

Richmond (12-6, 6-1 Atlantic 10), just two years removed from playing in the Colonial Athletic Association, handed the Dukes (7-13, 1-6) their second-worst loss of the season.

"It was just one of those days," senior guard Brad Midgley said. "It seemed like everything they shot was going in, and everything we shot wasn't going in."

This game was never competitive. Richmond led by 17 with 10 minutes left in the first half and was ahead by as many as 31 points in the first half before settling in for a 48-19 lead at the intermission.

If it wasn't for Kevin Forney, the first half could have been much worse. Forney was 4 for 7 from the field and had nine points. The rest of the team was 4 for 19 from the field and combined for 10 points.

At one point in the first half, the Dukes went 7:50 between baskets. Midgley, who made a basket at the buzzer, was the only Duquesne player other than Forney to make a shot from the field in the final 15:31 of the half.

"I'm just disappointed in how poorly we played," Coach Danny Nee said. "We were totally dominated in every facet of the game. It's just a really tough thing to swallow. I don't know why we played so poorly, but I'll take responsibility for it."

Richmond put the game away early by making 18 of 30 shots from the field in the first half, including six from 3-point range.

Junior forward Mike Skrocki led Richmond with 20 points, 18 of which came in the first half. He made four of five 3-point attempts in the first half.

The Dukes didn't help themselves by missing 7 of 10 free-throw attempts and all five of their 3-point attempts in the first 20 minutes.

"We lacked intensity," said Midgley, who led the Dukes with 13 points. "They came out and were physical and took it to us. I looked up 10 minutes into the game, and it was [17] points, I just felt we were lackadaisical. We were getting our butts kicked.."

It will be interesting to see how the Dukes respond in their game Saturday at George Washington. They have lost five in a row and have not been competitive in two of the past three games.

"I can't control what just happened, but I can control how we react to it," Nee said.

"We just have to clear our heads, get this loss totally out of our minds," Midgley said. "We have to go into Saturday's game with a totally positive attitude."

NOTES -- Richmond had a season-high 13 steals. Ten of the 12 players who played in the game had at least one steal. ... The Dukes had 18 turnovers. Forney had six of them. He finished with 11 points. ... The Dukes were 15 for 52 (31.3 percent) from the field and 15 for 28 (53.6 percent) from the free-throw line.

Ray Fittipaldo can be reached at rfittipaldo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1230.

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