Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008 • 7:00 p.m. (EST)
A.J. Palumbo Center (5,358) • Pittsburgh, Pa.
DUKES HOME FOR EIGHT OF NEXT 10
Duquesne (5-2), coming off a 94-75 win at Radford on Wednesday, returns home to face its second Big East opponent in 10 days when West Virginia (6-2) visits the Palumbo Center at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13 (KQV-AM 1410). This is the first of four consecutive pre-Christmas home games for the Dukes who went 2-2 in playing their past four on the road.
The WVU game also begins a stretch of eight of 10 games at home for the Dukes who are 2-0 at the Palumbo Center this season. Duquesne opened the season 4-0 before playing back-to-back road games at top 10 schools No. 7 (AP) Duke (L, 95-72) and No. 3 (AP) Pitt (L, 78-51).
Bob Cousy Award nominee (nation's top collegiate point guard) Aaron Jackson scored a career-high 36 points on 15-of-17 shooting to lead the Dukes to the win at Radford. His .822 field goal percentage was the best by a DU player in 35 years and his 36 points were the most by a Duke since 2006.
Duquesne, one of the youngest teams in the nation with eight scholarship freshmen and 12 underclassmen, is 0-1 against schools from the Big East this year with the loss at Pitt. DU's last win over a Big East school was Nov. 25, 2002 over WVU (86-82 at the Palumbo Center).
West Virginia is 1-0 on the road with an 80-78 win at Ole Miss. The Mountaineers have outscored their opponents by an average of +16.0 ppg. and outrebounded foes by a +9.5 rpg. margin.
- Duquesne is one of the youngest teams in the nation with eight scholarship freshmen and 12 underclassmen
- DU's two losses have come to Top 10 teams Duke (8-1) and Pitt (9-0) who are combined 17-1
- Senior G Aaron Jackson - one of 34 preseason Bob Cousy Award nominees, followed a season-low six point performance at Pitt with a career high 36 at Radford ... his 15-of-17 shooting performance (.882) tied the school record set by Ruben Montanez at Saint Peter's in 1973
- Sophomore F Damian Saunders, who posted back-to-back double-doubles over Thanksgiving week at USC Upstate (20-12) and at Duke (career-high 22-10) led the Dukes in scoring in the four previous games
- Either Saunders or Jackson has led the Dukes in scoring in every game this season
- DU learned this week that promising 6-8 freshman forward Rodrigo Peggau will undergo season-ending knee surgery ... Peggau was averaging 5.5 points and 3.3 rebound in 10 minutes per game
- Sophomore F David Theis, who missed the Pitt and Radford games with a bruised kidney, was cleared to resume practice on Wednesday and will be back in uniform for the WVU game
This is the 84th meeting between Duquesne and West Virginia ... it also marks the 36th consecutive season (since 1973-74) the Dukes and Mountaineers have met at least once on the hardwood ... WVU leads the series, which dates back to Jan. 30, 1915, 47-36 ... in games played at Pittsburgh, Duquesne leads 22-15 ... Duquesne won four of five from 1998-99 to 2002-03 before WVU began a streak of five-straight series wins with an 88-84 overtime victory in 2003-04 ... in 2002-03 the Dukes took an 86-82 decision at the Palumbo Center ... that was DU's last series win ... five year's ago - in a game during which Duquesne led by as many as 16 points in the first half and nine at the half - Drew Schifino scored 27 of his game-high 29 points in the second half to lead West Virginia to an 88-84 overtime win at Morgantown ... Schfino's effort prevented DU from winning three in a row at WVU for the first time since the early 1930s ... three years ago WVU led from wire-to-wire in an 86-66 win at Morgantown ... in the last Palumbo Center meeting, Alex Ruoff scored all 18 of his points from the 3-point arc as WVU hit 17-of-29 3-point attempts in an 85-54 win ... last year, West Virginia - under first year coach Bob Huggins - posted a 92-68 win at Morgantown.
- A victory over West Virginia would:
- End a five-game series losing streak.
- Snap an 11-game losing streak to Big East schools (six to Pitt and five to WVU). DU's last win over a Big East school was on Nov. 25, 2002 over the Mountaineers (86-82) at the Palumbo Center.
The Mountaineers are coming off a 68-65 loss to No. 23 (AP) Davidson at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday ... WVU was without starting guard and second-leading scorer Alex Ruoff (14.3 ppg., 20 3-pointers) who missed the game with a shoulder injury ... a second starting guard - Joe Mazzulla (team-high 26 assists) - played only six minutes after also suffering a shoulder injury ... Da'Sean Butler led WVU with 24 points ... freshman Devin Ebanks added 17 boards.
EVERHART VS. WVU/BIG EAST
This is the sixth game against West Virginia for third-year Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart. Everhart, a native of Fairmont, W.Va., first faced the Mountaineers on Dec. 4, 1999, when his McNeese State team lost to WVU 93-84 at Wheeling. Coincidentally, the 1999-00 Mountaineers were coming off a 94-80 loss to Duquesne in the previous game - also in Wheeling. On Nov. 29, 2003, Everhart's Northeastern Huskies traveled to Morgantown and handed WVU a rare non-conference home defeat, 91-84. Northeastern finished the 2003-04 season 19-11, while John Beilein's Mountaineers went 17-14 including two wins in the NIT. Two year's ago, WVU hit 17 3-pointers in an 85-54 win at the Palumbo Center. Last year, Bob Huggins' Mountaineers dominated in a 92-68 win at Morgantown. Everhart is 2-12 all-time vs. the Big East, with 12 of the 14 games on the road. Everhart's other Big East win came on Jan. 5, 2003 when he led Northeastern – minus two starters – to Chestnut Hill, Mass. and posted one of the biggest road wins in school history by defeating Boston College 72-67. It marked just the third time in 35 meetings that Northeastern defeated BC (it was also the last meeting between the two schools).
EVERHART AND HUGGINS
This is the third time West Virginia natives Ron Everhart and Bob Huggins will lead their teams against each other. On Dec. 30, 1995, Everhart's McNeese State team lost to Huggins' 5th ranked (AP) Cincinnati Bearcats 103-69 at UC's Shoemaker Center. The 1995-96 Bearcats, led by Danny Fortson, went on to finish 28-5 in advancing to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. Everhart, who was in his second season at McNeese, guided the Cowboys to a 15-12 record. Last year, WVU handled DU 92-68 at WVU Coliseum. Everhart first met Huggins when Huggins was a player at West Virginia and Everhart was in junior high. "I remember rebounding for him in the gym," said Everhart a self-confessed gym rat. Huggins befriended Everhart and the relationship has carried on for the past 30-plus years. "I have a lot of admiration and respect for Hugs," said Everhart. "He was one of those older guys who looked out for you and kind of took you under his wing, and you remember that."
WHAT A NIGHT
Duquesne's lone senior - guard Aaron Jackson - nearly had basketball's version of a perfect game in his career-high 36-point performance at Radford on Wednesday. Jackson, whose previous career best was 22, went 15-of-17 from the field (5-of-6 from 3-point), 1-of-1 from the foul line and had five assists with just one turnover in 38 minutes. His .882 field goal percentage was the best by a Duquesne player in 35 years (tying Ruben Montanez' school record set in 1973 at Saint Peter's). "I can't remember having a game like this," said Jackson who did recall a 31-point game in high school. "Lucas Newton [his roommate on the trip to Radford] and I were watching highlights of Stephen Curry in the hotel room and we were just amazed at how effortlessly and confidently he shot the ball. Lucas said to me, ‘there is no reason you can't shoot it like that, you just need to shoot with confidence.' After the Pitt game [a season-low six points] I didn't leave the gym until I made 100 ‘threes' and it paid off."
QUICK PLAYER NOTES
- Freshman Melquan Bolding, who made his first career start at Pitt, followed that with a second start at Radford ... scored all of his career-high nine points in the first five minutes of the win at RU ... also recorded season highs for assists (3) and steals (3) at Radford ... has scored seven points four times including at both Duke and Pitt ... he has also pulled down a season-best six rebounds twice ... is averaging 8.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in 25.5 minutes per game as a starter ... is tied for second on the team with 12 offensive boards ... played a season-high 28 minutes at Pitt and 23 more at Radford
- Sophomore Bill Clark has started all seven games ... second on the team with 21 assists, including a career-best six at Saint Francis ... his two high scoring games of the season have come at home (14 points each vs. High Point and Furman) ... broke a streak of three consecutive single-digit scoring games with 10 at Radford ... shooting .480 despite going 7-of-24 in the past three games ... has hit two or more 3-pointers in a game four times
- Junior Jason Duty, who entered the USC Upstate game averaging 4.7 ppg., scored all of his career high 17 points in the first 13 minutes ... went 4-of-6 from the 3-point arc in posting his third career double-digit scoring game vs. the Spartans ... his previous scoring high was 13 set as a freshman vs. Dayton ... is 8-of-8 from the foul line this season and 29-of-34 (.853) for his career ... has started all seven games, and hit at least one 3-pointer in six of them
- Freshman Eric Evans has scored in double digits three times (16 at Saint Francis, Pa., 15 at Radford and 14 vs. Furman) ... was named A-10 co-Rookie of the Week following the SFU game ... leads DU's eight freshmen in minutes/g. at 23.6 ... broke out of a three game, 6-of-23 (.261) shooting slump by hitting 5-of-8 shots in scoring 15 at Radford ... has hit at least one 3-pointer in each of DU's past six games
- Lone senior Aaron Jackson leads team scoring (17.9 ppg.), assists (42, 6.0 apg.) and steals (20, 2.9 spg.) and is second in rebounding (5.9 rpg.) ... shooting .584 from field ... was 2-of-13 from the 3-point arc before hitting 5-of-6 in scoring a career-high 36 points at Radford ... went 15-of-17 from the field vs. RU for the best shooting performance by a DU player since Ruben Montanez went 15-of-17 in a win over Saint Peter's on Feb. 17, 1973 ... has a 2.2-to-1 assist/turnover ratio (42-19) ... has made four more free throws (28-of-36) than any other DU player has attempted (Damian Saunders is 13-of-24) ... has flirted with a triple-double twice (20 points, 7 assists & 7 steals at Saint Francis, Pa. and 20 points, 10 rebounds & 6 assists in 28 minutes vs. Furman) ... his seven steals at SFU tied the second-highest total in school history ... became the 13th player in school history to post 10 or more assists in a game with a career-high 10 at USC Upstate ... averaging a team-high 34.4 minutes/g.
- Freshman Oliver Lewinson has played in five games ... has played double digit minutes three times including twice in DU's past two games (11 at Pitt and 12 at Radford) ... had four points and three boards at RU
- Freshman Aleksandar Milovic logged a total of 11 minutes in two games before playing a season-high 19 at Pitt ... saw the added time due to injuries to two fellow forwards (David Thies, bruised kidney & Rodrigo Peggau, sore knee - were both not in uniform at Pitt) ... did not play at Radford ... has scored two points and has three rebounds in three games played
- Freshman B.J. Monteiro started the first five games before coming off the bench at Pitt and at Radford ... posted season highs for points (7) and rebounds (4) in the opener vs. High Point ... has come off the bench to score eight points in 17 total minutes in Duquesne's past two games
- Sophomore Lucas Newton has played in two games ... hit one of two free throws at Duke
- Freshman Shawntez Patterson has played in one game (one minute vs. High Point)
- Freshman Rodrigo Peggau played in four games before his season was ended prematurely due to knee surgery (surgery to be scheduled) ... underwent surgery on his right knee in May and had a scope done Sept. 15 ... looked to be coming around, scoring five points in 19 seconds at Saint Francis and following that with eight points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes vs. Furman before knee pain took its toll ... will apply for a medical hardship waiver at the conclusion of the season
- Freshman Chase Robinson has played in four games with a season-high 13 minutes vs. Furman ... scored five in the opener vs. High Point ... has yet to commit a turnover ... 1-of-4 from the 3-point arc
- Sophomore Damian Saunders leads the team in rebounding (7.0 rpg.) and is second in scoring (16.4 ppg.) ... has a team-best 20 offensive rebounds ... has scored in double digits in all seven games with a low of 11 at Saint Francis, Pa. & at Radford ... has scored 20 or more three times (21 vs. High Point, 20 at USC Upstate & a career-high 22 at Duke) ... had a career-high six steals vs. High Point and tied his career high with four blocks at Pitt ... is shooting better from the field (.613) than he is from the foul line (13-of-24, .542) ... has two double-doubles (20-12 at Upstate and 22-10 at Duke) ... named A-10 co-Player of the Week following the Duke game (11/30) ... has led the team in scoring four times and in rebounding five times
- Junior Jimmy Sherwood has played in two games ... hit a 3-pointer in six minutes at Saint Francis, Pa. ... had two points and three rebounds in 11 minutes of the opener vs. High Point ... has not played in DU's past five games
- Sophomore David Theis was averaging 14.2 minutes in DU's first five games before being sidelined with a bruised kidney ... suffered the injury at USC Upstate and played a career-high 27 minutes at Duke before experiencing discomfort ... scored a career-high seven points at Duke also tied his career best with two steals vs. the Blue Devils ... missed the next two games at Pitt and at Radford ... was cleared to practice on Dec. 10 ... shooting .538 from the field