Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008 • 1:00 p.m. (EST)
A.J. Palumbo Center (5,358) • Pittsburgh, Pa.
DUKES HOST OWLS IN SECOND OF THREE IN SIX DAYS
Duquesne (5-4), coming off an 86-60 loss to Old Dominion on Wednesday, returns to action against Rice (4-5) at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20 at the Palumbo Center (KQV-AM 1410). This is the third of four consecutive pre-Christmas home games for the Dukes, who dropped a 68-63 decision to West Virginia on Dec. 13.
Duquesne, which has lost four of its past five, will look to right its ship against a vastly improved Rice team.
The Owls, who went 3-27 last year, bring a 4-5 record to Pittsburgh under veteran first-year coach Ben Braun. Rice, which has lost two games by four or fewer points, is 0-2 on the road. The Owls are led by 3-point shooters Cory Pflieger (12.7 ppg., 20 `3's') and Rodney Foster (11.0 ppg., 17 `3's'). Pflieger and Foster are both shooting over 40 percent from beyond the arc.
Bob Cousy Award nominee (nation's top collegiate point guard) Aaron Jackson leads the Dukes with a 16.9 ppg. scoring average. Jackson, DU's lone senior, is averaging 5.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.9 steals per game. He is shooting .574 from the field. Sophomore forward Damian Saunders (15.6 ppg.) is coming off his first single-digit scoring game of the season (9 points & 9 rebounds vs. ODU). Saunders is shooting .589. Duquesne has been outrebounded by 9.5/g. in its four losses.
The Dukes conclude a stretch of three games in six days Monday night vs. North Carolina Central (7:00 p.m.).
- Duquesne is one of the youngest teams in the nation with eight scholarship freshmen and 12 underclassmen, has dropped four of five after a 4-0 start
- DU's four losses have come to teams with a combined 32-6 record (Duke is 9-1, Pitt is 11-0, WVU is 7-2 and Old Dominion 5-3)
- Senior G Aaron Jackson - one of 34 preseason Bob Cousy Award nominees - was named A-10 co-Player of the Week after averaging 27.5 ppg. on 20-of-25 shooting in two games last week ... Jackson followed a season-low six points at Pitt with a career high 36 at Radford ... his 15-of-17 shooting at RU (.882) tied the school record set by Ruben Montanez at Saint Peter's in 1973 ... he added 19 more vs. WVU and had 8 points, 7 rebounds & 7 assists vs. ODU
- Freshman Eric Evans had a career-high 18 points vs. ODU (8-of-11) ... he is the first player other than Jackson or Damian Saunders (15.6 ppg.) to lead DU in scoring this season
- Promising freshman F Rodrigo Peggau underwent season-ending knee surgery on Dec. 18 ... he played in four games, averaging 5.5 points & 3.3 rebounds in 10 minutes/g.
Duquesne leads the overall series 4-2, including a 2-0 advantage in games played at Pittsburgh ... DU won last year's meeting 86-59 in a game played at Katy, Texas ... Rice (4-5), in its first season under veteran head coach Ben Braun, has already eclipsed last season's win total (3-27) ... three Owls losses have come by four, eight and three points ... Braun, in his 32nd season as a head coach, entered the year ranked 10th in all-time wins among active Division I basketball coaches ... Rice rallied from an 11-point deficit with eight minutes left to defeat Harvard, 67-63 at home on Wednesday.
VS. THE LONE STAR STATE
Duquesne is 8-6 all time against schools from the state of Texas, including a 6-2 mark in games played at Pittsburgh. The Dukes have defeated Rice three times (43-39 on Feb. 21, 1936 at Pitt Stadium, 70-68 on Dec. 2, 1989 and 72-57 on Dec. 28, 1999 at Palumbo Center), Texas (71-58 on Dec. 17, 1953), Texas A&M (73-36 on Dec. 9, 1950 at Farrell High School) and Prairie View (77-57 on Nov. 25, 2003). The losses came to Texas Wesleyan (57-53 on Jan. 26, 1948) and to Baylor (59-49 on Dec. 28, 1983 in the title game of the Golden Triangle Classic.
QUICK PLAYER NOTES
- Freshman Melquan Bolding joined the starting lineup at Pitt ... scored all of his career-high nine points in the first five minutes of the win at Radford ... also recorded season highs for assists (3) and steals (3) at RU ... has scored seven points four times including at both Duke and Pitt ... he has also pulled down a season-best six rebounds twice ... is tied for second on the team with 12 offensive boards ... played a season-high 28 minutes at Pitt and 23 more at Radford ... is 2-of-10 from the field with three rebounds in DU's past two games
- Sophomore Bill Clark has started all nine games ... second on the team with 29 assists, including a career-best six at Saint Francis ... his three high scoring games of the season have come at home (14 points each vs. High Point and Furman and 13 vs. WVU) ... broke a streak of three consecutive single-digit scoring games with 10 at Radford and followed that by hitting 3-of-10 3-pointers in scoring 13 in a career-high 40 minutes vs. West Virginia ... has hit two or more 3-pointers in a game five 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 12-of-12 from the foul line this season and 33-of-38 (.868) for his career ... has started all nine games, and hit at least one 3-pointer in seven of them ... broke out of a four-game 2-of-15 3-point shooting slump to hit 3-of-6 from the arc vs. Old Dominion
- Freshman Eric Evans has scored in double digits four times (18 vs. Old Dominion, 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 23.2 ... followed his first scoreless game of the season (vs. West Virginia) with a season-high 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting vs. ODU ... has hit at least one 3-pointer in seven games ... became the first player other than Aaron Jackson or Damian Saunders to lead the Dukes in scoring when he posted 18 points vs. Old Dominion
- Lone senior Aaron Jackson leads team scoring (16.9 ppg.), assists (53, 5.9 apg.) and steals (23, 2.6 spg.) and is second in rebounding (5.7 rpg.) ... shooting .574 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 ... followed that with 19 vs. West Virgina to earn Atlantic 10 co-Player of the Week honors (12/14) ... has a 2.1-to-1 assist/turnover ratio (53-25) ... has made seven more free throws (36-of-46) than any other DU player has attempted (Damian Saunders is 17-of-29) ... has flirted with a triple-double on three occasions (20 points, 7 assists & 7 steals at Saint Francis, Pa., 20 points, 10 rebounds & 6 assists in 28 minutes vs. Furman and 8 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists vs. Old Dominion) ... 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 35.6 minutes/g.
- Freshman Oliver Lewinson has played in six games ... has logged double digit minutes three times including three times in DU's past four games (11 at Pitt, 12 at Radford and 10 vs. Old Dominion) ... had four points and three boards at RU ... added three more rebounds vs. ODU
- 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 or vs. WVU before seeing five minutes of action vs. ODU ... has scored two points and has three rebounds in four games played
- Freshman B.J. Monteiro started the first five games before providing a spark off the bench in the past four ... posted season highs for points (7) and rebounds (4) in the opener vs. High Point ... has come off the bench to score 13 points in 26 total minutes in Duquesne's past four games
- 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 by Dec. 18 right knee surgery ... underwent surgery on the 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 five 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 (7.2 rpg.) and is second in scoring (15.6 ppg.) ... has a team-best 27 offensive rebounds ... scored in double digits in DU's first eight games before scoring nine vs. Old Dominion ... 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 (.589) than he is from the foul line (17-of-29, .586) ... 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 seven times
- 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 ... scored a career-high eight points in a career-best 34 minutes in his return game vs. WVU ... went 2-of-2 from the 3-point arc against the Mountaineers ... shooting .524 from the field