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Pittsburgh 75, Duquesne 73

December 21, 1996

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Kellii Taylor drove the lane to score with 2.8 seconds left and Pittsburgh, despite trailing by 16 points in the first half and nearly all of the second half, beat city rival Duquesne 75-73 Saturday.

Duquesne (3-4), which has lost eight straight to Pitt and 16 of 17, went on a 20-2 run to open a 22-6 lead with eight minutes gone and led by 70-65 with 1:11 remaining.

But Vonteego Cummings, who scored 17 points, started Pitt’s comeback with two free throws and a layup off a steal to make it 70-69. After the Dukes’ Kevin Price hit a free throw, Kevin Willard gave Pitt (4-5) its first lead in 16 minutes with a 3-pointer from the left corner with 21 seconds to play.

It was the only basket in 15 minutes of second-half playing time by Willard, the walk-on son of Pitt coach Ralph Willard.

Mike James, who scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half, tied it by beating Willard down the floor for a driving layup. But Taylor answered with the game-winner as Pitt survived its closest game in the series since Duquesne’s 80-76 victory on Dec. 12, 1989.

That game represented Pitt’s only loss to Duquesne since joining the Big East Conference in 1982.

The Panthers’ comeback _ they trailed 59-50 with 9:42 to play _ came as their two top inside players, 7-footer Mark Blount (14 points, seven rebounds) and 6-7 Chad Varga (eight points) _ fouled out down the stretch.

Jason Maile scored 15 points and Taylor added 11 for Pitt, which won its third in a row, all over western Pennsylvania schools, since starting 1-5.

Tom Pipkins led all scorers with 21 points and James and Kevin Price had 15 each for Duquesne, which shot only 38.8 percent _ 26-of-67 _ to Pitt’s 44 percent.

Pipkins scored 11 points during the 20-2 run in the opening minutes, but Pitt countered with a 16-2 run that brought it to 25-22. Later, Maile’s two free throws with 1:35 before halftime put Pitt ahead 35-33, its first lead since 4-2.

Nick Bosnic’s layup with 17:34 to play gave the Dukes a 43-42 lead, and they never trailed again until Willard’s 3-pointer.

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