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Semi-rapid reaction: George Washington 81, Duquesne 74

Written by Craig Meyer on .

Yet again, Duquesne was unable to hold on to a sizable second-half lead and for the third-consecutive game, it lost while doing so. The Dukes fell to George Washington, 81-74, Wednesday night at the Palumbo Center. The loss was their fourth in a row, a season high.

As for how the game itself went…

Turning point: This one was a little more prolonged than usual because that’s how more methodical, efficient teams like George Washington operate. Duquesne led, 45-32, with about 18 minutes remaining after Micah Mason did what he did for much of the game’s first 30 minutes – blowing by Patricio Garino, one of the A-10’s top defensive players, for a smooth finger-roll in traffic.

From that point, though, the Colonials switched to a triangle-and-two defense for large stretches, one that applied constant pressure on Mason and Derrick Colter and limited the space in which they could move. By putting the proverbial clamps on the only two Dukes to finish in double figures, George Washington made a decisive move. Over the next 12:31, Duquesne scored just 12 points while its opponent poured in 31. With just five minutes left, GW led by six and even when the Dukes threatened, like when they were down three with 1:30 left, their opponent responded, like they did when Kevin Larsen responded with a 3 to double that lead (just the 12th of his four-year career).

Game ball: It can’t be anyone other than Mason. The Highlands grad was sublime much of the night, finishing with a game-high 26 points while making 10 of his 16 shots and six of his nine 3s. What continues to impress me the most with him is how well-rounded and far-reaching his offensive game has become. As I mentioned earlier, he largely had his way whenever Garino was guarding him, which is no small feat. He made quick, decisive drives to the basket, which he finished with some deft touch.

Though he’s been one for much of his college career, Mason has evolved into much more than just an outside shooter this season. Even with his 3-point percentage at a career low – he’s shooting 41.8 percent this season – he’s as good and dangerous of an offensive player as he has been in his career.

What it means: Duquesne’s beginning to fall into a precarious pattern at a point in the season when it can least afford to. Its past three losses haven’t been identical, but they are permeated by the same theme – being unable to not only maintain a lead, but not completely lose it in the second half of a game it could have easily won.

The problem is, largely, a defensive one. George Washington shot 52 percent in the second half after hitting just 38.7 percent of its field goals in the first. It was even deadlier from 3, making six of its nine second-half treys. In their past three losses – tonight’s, against UMass and at Dayton – the Dukes allowed their opponents to shoot a combined 54.5 percent after the first half (48 of 88). From beyond the arc, it has been even uglier the past two games, as the Minutemen and Colonials shot a combined 58.3 percent from deep.

I’ve never bought into the notion that some teams have a “clutch gene” or “know how to win close” because data has shown us those results are more a product of luck than anything. A bounce that maybe went your way during better times doesn’t the following year. Though it’s a different sport, it’s the kind of thing that can explain how Eli Manning led two last-minute, Super Bowl-winning drives only to see his Giants team implode in drastic fashion several times in 2015. He didn’t lose a certain skill; it’s more likely he just didn’t have it to begin with.

While teams don’t necessarily have those traits, it’s becoming clearer that Duquesne struggles in these type of games against better teams. It’s a puzzling trend given the Dukes’ relative experience, especially in the backcourt, but for Duquesne fans, it’s a development that has to be equally troubling.

What’s next: A game Saturday at Rhode Island. KenPom gives the Rams an 81 percent chance of winning, with a projected final score of 78-69. Given URI’s recent struggles – losing four of its past six – and its injuries, I think the Dukes have better odds than that.

Quotable: “When we’re out there, we’re just trying to make plays to get wins. We’re not really thinking about being up and them coming back. That’s what has been happening. Right now, we just don’t have that edge to pull out wins.” – Micah Mason

“We’re tired of losing right now. We had a history of not pulling out games the past couple of years. I thought we fixed that this year. We just lost four really close games. We’re not a bad team and we know that.” - Mason

“We’re not coming out with the same intensity on defense in the second half. I’m not really sure why, but we have to fix it if we want to win games.” – Mason

“They go to that defense, it takes away Micah and DC, and I felt we kind of froze a little bit. We’ve worked on this several times. We’ve actually faced teams that have done this and we’ve shredded them. It’s a little disappointing to see us play this poorly offensively during that stretch.” – Jim Ferry on GW’s second-half defensive switch

“Some of it is our length at the guard position. I think some of it is being away from our bench, where we can be aggressive with our voices and help them out. I also thought in this game, it was our offensive inadequacy. It led to transition baskets.” – Ferry on Duquesne’s second-half lapses on defense

“It’s a program that hasn’t won in years. We’re trying to build it to win. This is a part of it. You have to learn how to win. We’ve done a better job of it earlier this season and we’ve been playing pretty good teams, but you’ve got to win these games, especially at home.” – Ferry

“It’s fragile. Micah and I were talking about it before the game. They [GW] had lost two in a row and they were fragile. You win one game and all of a sudden, your confidence comes back. Yes, we have to keep grinding and figure it out, but we’ve got to defend better. That’s the bottom line.” – Ferry on the team’s mental state now compared to two weeks ago

 

Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG

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Designers play time travel at New York Fashion Week

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

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NEW YORK -- Everything old is new again, right? That might as well be the motto for fashion come fall.

At New York Fashion Week, underway through Thursday, plenty of designers are pulling inspiration from past decades for their upcoming collections.

Hot on the heels of a '70s style resurgence for fall 2015, some designers once again are channeling the groovy era. At the Alice + Olivia presentation, sets resembling New York City's downtown arts scene during that decade filled a large gallery space, complete with vintage LIFE magazines and newspapers, disco balls, oriental rugs and records. As for the fashions, there were fresh twists on patchwork dresses, high-waist flare pants, wide-brim hats and printed vests, maxi coats and pantsuits galore. Likewise, Diane von Furstenberg's fall collection was an homage to the time, with sexy slips, vivid prints and glitzy gowns worthy of the disco.

At Jeremy Scott, there were some nods to the '90s. In keeping with his signature playful style, pieces were wallpapered with popular cartoon characters from the decade, like Nickelodeon's Ren and Stimpy. Meanwhile, Tommy Hilfiger delivered nautical staples (peacoats, sailor pants, etc.) through a 1940s filter.

Photos: Alice + Olivia's '70s-inspired fall 2016 collection, presented Wednesday at New York Fashion Week at Skylight Clarkson Sq., SoHo. Sara Bauknecht/Post-Gazette

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Penguins have emergency goaltenders on call - 02-17-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

When Coyotes backup goaltender Anders Lindback suffered a season-ending Achilles injury shortly before a 6-2 home win against the Canadiens Monday, Arizona was forced to sign Nathan Schoenfeld (above), a 31-year old banker from nearby Scottsdale, Ariz., to a one-day amateur tryout agreement.

The Coyotes turned to Schoenfeld, the son of former Coyotes coach Jim Schoenfeld, because there wasn't enough time to recall a replacement from their American Hockey League affiliate in Springfield, Mass. by the start of the game. With most teams carrying only two goaltenders on their NHL roster, immediate replacements aren't usually available in the event of an injury or illness just prior to the start of a game.

This season, the NHL started to require home teams to have a list of emergency goaltenders on call for games if either team needs one.

“We're playing Detroit on Thursday,” said Penguins' associate general manager Jason Botterill. “If something happened to one of the Detroit goalies or our goalies, just having something available from that standpoint. We do have a list together at the start of the season. As you saw in Arizona, it is a little bit of scramble no matter what.”

Botterill declined to identify the emergency goaltenders the Penguins have on call but said they have played organized hockey at some level.

“It's just goalies who have played in the area,” said Botterill. “Whether it be college goalies who have moved on or just some sort of goaltending background.”

In the event Marc-Andre Fleury or Jeff Zatkoff were unavailable, the Penguins do have the option of turning to goaltending coach Mike Bales, a former goaltender with the Bruins and Senators, or even director of team operations Jim Britt who occasionally fills in during practices.

“Those are all the things that [are] a possibility,” said Botterill. “But you hopefully find somebody so you don't have to put our own guys in that position.”

Beyond the possibility of a hat, t-shirt or pregame meal, players on amateur tryout agreements get no compensation and do not have any ramifications on the salary cap.

(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

 

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Fox Chapel twins go behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

Polyvore Twins

NEW YORK -- Fashion is more than just a hobby for Kaitlyn and Arianna Costanzo, 21-year-old twins from Fox Chapel. It's a career goal and a passion.

They're both fashion bloggers (Kaitlyn's site is The Layered Lineup and Arianna's blog is Flawed Paradise). Plus, this past summer they interned for the Brooklyn-based jewelry band K/LLER Collection. They also study public relations and advertising at Point Park University.

But one of their biggest breaks to date is being tapped by the shopping website and app Polyvore to attend New York Fashion Week as community correspondents, who go behind the scenes and attend shows and report on them for the website's fashion followers.

Stylebook caught up with the twins as they headed to the Big Apple.

What was your reaction to being invited to New York Fashion Week?

Kaitlyn: It's always been a dream, so it's pretty exciting.

What do you hope to take away from the experience?

Arianna: We both just want to grow ourselves. Being in Pittsburgh, we don't have as many opportunities in the fashion industry.

Has being in Pittsburgh made it challenging for you to break into the fashion industry?

Kaitlyn: I think it's been a little difficult. I've always been slightly afraid to fully express myself fashion-wise. There definitely are some people in Pittsburgh who are fashionable. Some people look at you the wrong way if you're wearing something that's different other than a sports jersey.

So how would you describe your personal style?

Kaitlyn: Edgy, but calm and cool. I really look up to designer Saint Laurent.

Arianna: My biggest inspiration ever since I was young was Alexander McQueen.

Where's your favorite place to shop in Pittsburgh?

Kaitlyn and Arianna: Ross Park Mall

What's your fashion dream job?

Kaitlyn: I would love to either possibly be a stylist because I've always looked up to Rachel Zoe, or just be able to work under or in the company of a high-fashion brand.

Arianna: I agree. Or eventually having something of my own.

See more from Kaitlyn and Arianna on Polyvore at kaitlyncostanzo.polyvore.com and flawedparadise.polyvore.com. Read more about other Pittsburghers taking in part in New York Fashion Week HERE.

Photos: From left, Arianna and Kaitlyn Costanzo. Courtesy of Polyvore.

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Brentley: withdrawing from District 19 race 'a reality thing'

There were some glaring absences from the roster of candidates filing petitions for state and federal office yesterday . One was that of Kathleen Kane, of course, the woman whose name is literally synomous with the phrase "embattled attorney general," at least as far as Google is concerned .

But another missing name was that of Mark Brentley, a...

Read more http://earlyreturns.post-gazette.com/home/early-returns-posts/6735-brentley-withdrawing-from-district-19-race-a-reality-thing

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