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PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Despite outscoring the home team in the second half, the UMass Lowell men’s basketball team (4-4) was handed an 83-71 loss at Duquesne (4-1) of the Atlantic 10 Conference on Sunday afternoon.

The River Hawks, who trailed by as many as 18 in the outing, closed the gap back to just eight inside of the last three minutes but were unable to come any closer.

“We didn’t do a good job in the first half defensively,” said Head Coach Pat Duquette. “They shot 7-for-11 from the three-point line, and more than that, I just thought they had open looks. We were much better in the second half, but you’re not going to win a game on the road against an Atlantic 10 opponent unless you play 40 really good minutes.”

Freshman Alex Rivera (Lowell, Mass.) posted a team-high 19 points, including a personal-best five three-point field goals. Sophomore Obadiah Noel (Frederick, Md.) followed closely with 18 points, while redshirt-senior Josh Gantz (Grove City, Ohio) rounded out the double-digit scorers with 14 points. Redshirt-junior Christian Lutete (Silver Spring, Md.) paced his squad with nine rebounds and five assists, as well.

Gantz floated one in to put the River Hawks on the board first in the contest, and although the teams traded buckets with nine lead changes in the opening minutes, UMass Lowell used layups from redshirt-junior Connor Bennett (Wilmington, Mass.) and senior Ryan Jones (Rio Rancho, N.M.) , and a three from Rivera, to pull ahead, 14-12, with 15:16 remaining in the first half.

The Dukes answered with a 14-2 run, creating a double-digit margin, 26-16, at 9:33. The River Hawks would cut the difference in half thanks to points from Rivera and Noel, but the home squad capitalized on turnovers to put together an 18-5 stretch that gave Duquesne a 44-26 buffer with 2:55 to play in the period. Rivera added his third triple of the day before Noel tallied the last two buckets of the first to make the score 46-33 at the break.

Gantz took advantage of a fast-break coming out of halftime before the River Hawks would outscore Duquesne, 10-5, to cut the difference to 58-45 with 11:29 left to play. The Dukes maintained at least a 13-point lead until Gantz and Noel sparked a 12-6 spurt for the visitors that was capped off by another three from Rivera, putting UMass Lowell within three possessions, 77-69, at 2:45. However, Duquesne converted at the line to secure the 83-71 decision.

The Dukes now own a 3-0 advantage in the all-time series between the two schools. The River Hawks are on the road again on Tuesday, November 27 when they travel to UConn for a 7 p.m. tilt.

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