2008-09 inductees recognized at halftime
Friday, Nov. 14, 2008 • 8:30 p.m. (EST)
A.J. Palumbo Center (5,358) • Pittsburgh, Pa.
DUKES OPEN VS. HIGH POINT
Duquesne Duquesne tips-off the 2008-09 men's basketball season on Friday, Nov. 14 at 8:30 p.m. vs. High Point (0-0) at the Palumbo Center. It is the second game of a doubleheader preceded by the Duquesne women's season opener vs. Morehead State at 6:00 p.m.
This is the 93rd season of basketball for Duquesne University men's basketball (1,237-939, .569). The Dukes started play in 1913-14 (DU did not field a team in 1944-45-46 due to World War II). Duquesne has compiled an impressive 77-15 record in season opening games, including a 72-4 record when opening the season at home. The losses came in 1927-28 to Ohio Wesleyan (36-23); 1966-67 to St. Francis (81-63), 1989-90 to Detroit (108-97) and 2005-06 to Arkansas-Pine Bluff (64-56). The Dukes are 84-8 all-time in the first home game of the season, including a 15-4 mark at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
Duquesne, which posted its first winning season since 1993-94 last year (17-13), opens this season with an NCAA Division I-high eight scholarship freshmen on the roster. Three year starter Aaron Jackson is Duquesne's lone scholarship upperclassman. High Point, which finished 17-14 last year, is in a similar boat with nine freshmen (seven scholarship) on its roster.
This is the first-ever matchup between Duquesne and High Point ... the Panthers, members of the Big South Conference, return three starters from last year's 17-14 team ... HPU was picked to finish fifth of 10 teams in the Big South preseason poll ... the Dukes, who return two starters from last year's 17-13 team, were projected to finish 12th in the 14-team Atlantic 10 ... Duquesne and High Point boast two of the youngest teams in the nation ... of the 31 players on both rosters, 25 are underclassmen and 17 are freshmen ... High Point is the first of two Big South teams on the 2008-09 schedule ... the Dukes travel to Radford on Dec. 10 ... DU is 5-2 against the schools that comprise the current Big South Conference ... the Dukes defeated UNC-Asheville 77-76 on Nov. 18, 2006 in their last meeting with a Big South school ... the game was Ron Everhart's second at Duquesne.
- A victory over High Point would:
- Give Duquesne a 73-4 record when opening the season at home.
- Make head coach Ron Everhart 3-0 in season-opening games at Duquesne.
High Point's 6-2 junior guard Eugene Harris was a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review all-City League player for Pittsburgh Allderdice High School in 2004, before going on to attend St. Thomas More Prep in Oakdale, Conn. Harris started all 31 games for High Point last season in setting a single-season school record with 90 3-point field goals (12.5 ppg.). He ranked second in the Big South and 66th in the nation in 3-pointers made/g. Harris, who made at least one trey in every game, was the Big South's best 3-point shooter at 43.1 percent. A member of the 2006-07 Big South All-Freshman team, Harris was the lone HPU true freshman to appear in every game that season. Harris, who lived in the Point Breeze area of Pittsburgh, transferred from Perry to Allderdice after his sophomore year.
HE'S BEEN HERE BEFORE
High Point sophomore forward Jourdan Morris has played more minutes on the Palumbo Center parquet floor than eight players on Duquesne's opening day roster. A first-year transfer from St. Bonaventure, Morris scored five points in nine minutes of a 97-94 Bonnies win over the Dukes in Pittsburgh on Feb. 24, 2007. He also played one minute in DU's 111-92 win over SBU at Reilly Center earlier that season.
Duquesne's 2008-09 non-conference schedule has a distinct Carolina flair. In all, the Dukes will play a total of five schools from either North or South Carolina: High Point (High Point, N.C.), Furman (Greenville, S.C.), at South Carolina Upstate (Spartanburg, S.C.), at Duke (Durham, N.C.) and North Carolina Central (Durham, N.C.). The Dukes will also play Charlotte as part of the Atlantic 10 schedule. High Point and North Carolina Central are the only first-time opponents for the Dukes.
Three Connecticut natives are expected to play key roles for the Dukes in 2008-09. Three-year starter Aaron Jackson, a Hartford native (Northwest Catholic), is DU's top returning scorer (9.0 ppg.) and assist man (104). Sophomore forward Damian Saunders, who attended Waterbury Crosby High School, was a member of the 2007-08 Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team. Saunders, Duquesne's top returning rebounder (5.2 rpg.), shot blocker (39) and steals man (45), underwent successful surgery in early May to repair a torn ligament in his left ankle. He was cleared to participate in individual workouts on October 2. DU's third player from the Nutmeg State is true freshman G/F B.J. Monteiro who was named 2008 Connecticut State Player of the Year by the Hartford Courant. Monteiro, was a freshman and Saunders a junior on a Crosby team that won a 2004-05 state title. Monteiro added a second state crown last season.
Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart signed a three-year contract extension on June 25 that secures him as the Dukes coach through 2013-14.
A FRESH START
Duquesne's projected starting lineup for the High Point game features at least one true freshman in guard/forward B.J. Monteiro. If Monteiro or any other of the DU freshmen do start, it will mark the fourth consecutive season at least one true freshman was in the opening day starting lineup. Since NCAA bylaws were changed to grant freshman eligibility prior to the 1972-73 season, Duquesne's longest stretch with a freshman starter in the opener is four seasons from 1991-92 through 1994-95 all under head coach John Carroll. Current Dukes Aaron Jackson (2005-06) and Bill Clark (2007-08) also started the first game in their freshman year.
26 Tom Pipkins* Robert Morris Nov. 27, 1993 26 Jim Tucker Bowling Green Dec. 10, 1951 23 Dick Ricketts* Bowling Green Dec. 10, 1951 23 Garry Nelson Long Island U. Nov. 30, 1968 23 Scott Grote* Youngstown St. Nov. 13, 2006 22 Willie Somerset St. Francis, Pa. Dec. 2, 1961 21 Lionel Billingy Morehead St. Dec. 2, 1971 21 Jarrett Durham Long Island U. Nov. 30, 1968
* - Pipkins, Ricketts and Grote were freshmen, the rest sophomores
ITS NOT GOING TO BE EASY
Duquesne will play 13 total games against teams that made post-season appearances last year. Non-conference opponents Duke, Pittsburgh and West Virginia along with A-10 members Saint Joseph's, Temple and Xavier all advanced to the NCAA tournament, while non-league foe Robert Morris and Charlotte, Dayton, Massachusetts and Rhode Island of the A-10 were in last year's NIT. College Basketball Invitational teams Old Dominion (CAA) and Richmond (A-10) complete the list of teams on the schedule that played in the 2007-08 post-season.
A TOUGH STRETCH
The most formidable portion of the non-conference schedule comes on Nov. 28 and Dec. 3 when the Dukes face two preseason Top 10 teams on the road in back-to-back games. Duquesne heads to Cameron Indoor Stadium to face Duke on the 28th, before playing crosstown rival Pitt at the Petersen Events Center on Dec. 3. The last time DU played two Top 10 teams in the same season was 1995-96 when the Dukes played No. 6 Georgetown (an 88-86 loss at Lakeland, Fla.) and No. 1 Massachusetts (a 93-89 loss at home). The last time Duquesne played Top 10 teams in back-to-back games was in the 1969 NCAA Tournament Regional at College Park, Md. when the ninth-ranked Dukes lost to No. 4 North Carolina (79-78) before defeating No. 8 St. John's (75-72) in the consolation game.