Duquesne looks to snap 12-year skid vs. Pitt in City Game
It went unspoken in the heat of summer-league season, but even then Duquesne sophomore Jeremiah Jones wanted to beat Pitt.
“They've beaten us I don't know how many years,” said Jones, who shared a Green Tree court with Panthers players. “It comes to a point where you have to take that personal. We never really bring up the City Game in the summer, but it's always in the back of our minds.”
Pitt (6-0) and Duquesne (2-2) will meet for the 82nd time at 1 p.m. Saturday at Consol Energy Center. In recent decades, the series record has been one-sided. Pitt has won 12 in a row since Duquesne's victory in 2000 and 22 of the past 24. The Panthers won last season 66-45.
This season's Dukes roster has mostly newcomers, but this crosstown matchup's importance isn't lost on them, said second-year coach Jim Ferry, who considers Pitt a measuring stick.
“You don't have to convince anybody,” Ferry said. “I think everybody is excited about it. They play against each other all summer long. They play pick-up against each other. They see each other out at restaurants. There's hype to the game. ... We don't have to talk about it. If anything, you've got to bring it down a little bit.”
About 4,000 fans were at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., to see Pitt's victory over Stanford on Tuesday, an attendance figure the City Game could triple. A year ago, 13,089 watched Pitt and Duquesne at Consol. There were 12,860 fans in 2011.
“That doesn't happen in November or December,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said of the turnout for a nonconference game. “Turn on the TV. It's not happening. So I think (the City Game) means a lot.”
Said Ferry: “I've been involved in rivalries ... but this is to a much larger scale because the whole city gets behind it. There's definitely a dividing line between the Pitt fans and the Duquesne fans. My job right now is to change what has been happening (on the court) over the past couple of years.”
That won't come easily. The Dukes were impressed after watching Pitt dominate Texas Tech, 76-53, and then beat Stanford, 88-67, in the Legends Classic. Pitt's Lamar Patterson scored 47 points combined in the wins. The Panthers are outscoring opponents by nearly 25 points.
“They're more explosive than they were last year,” Jones said. “They've got scoring all over the floor this year. They can shoot it. They can drive it.”
Pitt has held five of six opponents to fewer than 60 points. That was, in part, because the Panthers have adapted to the stricter foul rules enforced this season, Ferry said.
“Because of their size and their length, they can take up so much space and crowd,” Ferry said. “They're playing physical, but they're playing very smart. I think they're doing a better job of (adapting) than other teams ... staying as physical as they can within the rules.”
Pitt's size was too much for Duquesne last season. The Panthers held a 49-33 rebounding edge, which included 21 offensive rebounds. Duquesne replaced all but three scholarship players from that lineup.
“I believe the gap in talent has decreased tremendously,” Jones said. “They've got some good players over there, don't get me wrong. They're talented one to five. But we think we're talented as well.”
The Dukes, who have been without freshmen forwards Isaiah Watkins (leg surgery) and Jordan Robinson (awaiting eligibility), lost sophomore guard Micah Mason to a broken bone in his shooting hand.
“We're going to beat (Pitt). It's eventually going to happen,” Ferry said. “Is it going to be Saturday? I don't know. But it's going to get to that point.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Narduzzi set to begin more critical evaluations during Pitt football spring drills
- Pitt adds quarterback recruit from Cincinnati
- Pitt women’s basketball team excited for future
- Pitt heavily vested in linebackers’ progress
- Firm compiling list of candidates for Pitt AD position
- McConnell-Serio has Pitt women’s team believing
- Pitt lands Upper St. Clair tackle
- Pitt’s Welch dismissed from team
- Season offers many teaching points for Pitt
- Pitt lands basketball recruit
- Pitt women’s basketball notebook: Tennessee presents tough test