City Game Returns to Mellon Arena

Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh - schools that played in the first two basketball games at Mellon Arena back in 1961 - will meet each other in the final college basketball game to be played at the 50-year-old facility on Wednesday, December 2 it was announced today.

Duquesne Mellon Arena Breakdown (.pdf format)

The game, which was moved from DU's on-campus A.J. Palumbo Center, will be televised nationally by CBS College Sports at 7:00 p.m. with Duquesne as the host team. It will be the first time since 2001 that the two intracity rivals will meet at Mellon Arena. The City Game rotated between Pitt's Petersen Events Center and the Palumbo Center from 2002 through last year.

"Mellon Arena and SMG is thrilled to host the final collegiate basketball game to be played under this roof," said Jay Roberts, general manager of Mellon Arena which will close its doors following the 2009-10 hockey season.

"Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh have been a big part of the history at the Arena and this game gives us the opportunity to honor some of the great moments and legendary players that have been here over the past 50 years."

Mellon Arena, which served as Duquesne's home court for 23 seasons (from 1964-65 through 1987-88), will be replaced by the new Consol Energy Center in 2010-11.

"When Jay [Roberts] approached us about the possibility of moving the game, we felt it would be a tremendous opportunity to showcase our men's basketball program," said Duquesne Director of Athletics Greg Amodio. "The Pitt/Duquesne rivalry has seen some great games played at Mellon Arena. This will give fans the chance to see the City Game one last time in one of the truly unique arenas in the nation.

"We've had a long history with Mellon Arena and look forward to future partnership opportunities between Duquesne and the new Consol Energy Center."

Duquesne and Pitt were among the first teams to play at the then-Civic Arena with the Dukes defeating Carnegie Tech (78-40) and Pitt losing to then top-ranked Ohio State (99-79) as part of a Children's Hospital/Pittsburgh Press charity doubleheader on Dec. 6, 1961. The doubleheader drew 8,009 fans, which marked the largest crowd to see a basketball game in Pittsburgh.

The Dukes and Panthers have met 34 times at Mellon Arena with Pitt, which leads the overall series 46-31, holding a 20-14 advantage. The largest crowd for a Pitt/Duquesne game at Mellon Arena was 15,824 for a 66-64 Dukes win over the Panthers in an Eastern 8 Conference game on Feb. 15, 1981.

Duquesne, which played 13 times at Mellon Arena from 1961-64 before making it the school's basketball home in 1964-65, has played more college basketball games at the arena than any other school. DU is 247-107 all-time for a .698 winning percentage at Mellon Arena.

Mellon Arena, home of the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, opened as the Civic Arena with an Ice Capades event on Sept. 18, 1961. It was officially renamed Mellon Arena, after the Pittsburgh-based bank, the day of the Dec. 20, 1999 Pitt/Duquesne game.

Duquesne, which returns four starters from last year's 21-13 NIT team, opens the 2009-10 season on November 13 at home against Nicholls State. The Dukes, under fourth-year head coach Ron Everhart, are coming off their first 20-win season since 1981 and first post-season appearance since 1994. DU's 21 wins last season were its most since 1970-71.

Duquesne season tickets - which include the Pitt game as well as 14 other home games - are on sale now by calling 412-232-DUKE (3853). General public sale for the City Game will begin on Friday, October 16.

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