Duquesne, making 23 of its 38 field goals from within two feet of the basket, held off a second-half George Washington rally to post an 89-82 Eastern Eight victory yesterday at Smith Center.

The Dukes (7-5, 3-2 in conference play) came away with their second victory over the Colonials this season after allowing a 14-point second-half advantage to dwindle to three, 68-65, with 6:36 to play.

"We've had problems putting together 40 minutes of good basketball all year," said GW Coach Bob Tallent, who watched his team's loose, man-to-man defense allow 13 layups and tapins in the first half. "Despite the loss, I see some improvement. The bad spells are getting shorter and the good spells longer."

After shooting 33 percent in the first half (12 of 36 from the floor) and trailing, 43-34, the Colonials (4-8, 1-4 in league play) rallied by using a 1-2-2, full-court zone press.

The press helped produce six Duquesne turnovers and, coupled with Randy Davis' best half of the season, allowed GW to threaten, trailing by only four, 72-68, with 5:35 to play.

"We weren't very aggressive in the first half," noted Tallent. "But we got a few steals early in the second half and got something out of them. That helped us get into the game."

But the Dukes, 87-71 winners over GW nine days ago in Pittsburgh, adjusted to the press and pulled away to an 87-74 margin with a minute left as Rod Scott and Ronnie Dixon (15 points) scored six points apiece.

Scott was Duquesne's leading scorer with 20, many of his points coming on layups. For the game, Duquesne made 38 of 70 shots (54 percent). GW improved to 30 of 67 (44 percent).

The Colonials were led by Davis, who finished with a game-high 23 points, including 13 in the second half when the 6-foot 1 sophmore guard stole passes, rebounded, executed assists, made four field goals and converted five of seven free throws. His career-high scoring performance was his second 20-point effort in three games.

Davis' effort wouldn't overcome Duquesne's front line, which produced 52 points, 16 apiece from Bruce Atkins and John Moore to go along with Scott's total. GW's front line of Oscar Wilmington (13), Steve Perry (10) and Paul Gracza (eight) managed only 31 and experienced rebound problems that allowed Duquesne to dominate the inside play for much of the game.