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A controversial block/charge call and two subsequent technical fouls called on Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot with 5.4 seconds left lifted Penn State to a six-point win in Pittsburgh. Dambrot was ejected after the second technical, but got his money's worth as he left the arena:
Keith Dambrot, having a normal one pic.twitter.com/cbInOthAYF— Roar Lions Roar (@RLRblog) December 20, 2018
Rasir Bolton stepped up and made all four technical freebies to put the game out of reach, then Lamar Stevens sank both of his free throws to complete the bad beat.
A real shame for the Dukes and anyone who had Duquesne +5.5, and a sigh of relief for the Nittany Lions, who played less than inspired basketball for much of the game. Stevens had a bounce-back game to get Penn State over the hump with 25 points - 21 in the second half - and 10 boards in 33 minutes. Sophomore Eric Williams led the hosts with 21 points in a losing effort.
Dambrot coached a great game up to his unfortunate incident, utilizing a full court press in the first half that unnerved Penn State against NC State and worked again on Wednesday. The Nittany Lions turned it over 12 times before the break, falling behind as Williams and freshman point guard Sincere Carry had their way against Penn State's backcourt.
Stevens turned it on in the second half, grabbing the game by the horns and powering his way to his fifth double-double of the season. The rebounding in particular, by Stevens and his teammates alike, was the biggest factor in turning the tide in the second half. Penn State gathered 15 offensive rebounds leading to 14 second-chance points. On the other end, Duquesne went 4-20 from the floor over the final 20 minutes. They still generated enough offense to be in the game before Dambrot's explosion, going 20-21 from the line.
Penn State will take whatever they can get at this point while they work through their offensive struggles and backcourt shuffling - side note, Myles Dread came off the bench for the first time in his young career and rediscovered his three-point jumper with four triples - and they'll have a quick turnaround on Friday night in Tuscaloosa. The team will stay the night in Pittsburgh and fly to Alabama in prep for Friday's game against the Crimson Tide.