It’s no secret that Keith Dambrot has something special brewing in Pittsburgh. In just his 2nd season as head coach, Dambrot has the Dukes off to an 8-2 start this year with wins over Radford and Marshall including no true bad losses. While the Dukes had similar success in non-conference play last season, their schedule was significantly easier, and they dropped home games to Kenpom 250+ teams. This season, Duquesne is clearly improving, and a comeback win at home over Longwood showed this team can put away inferior opponents, even on off nights. Duquesne has fallen to its 2 tough opponents — Notre Dame & Pittsburgh — but tonight it has a chance to take down the final giant in its non-conference slate: Penn St.
Though Penn St. took the last game when these two met in 2017, 2016 belonged to the Dukes who crushed the Nittany Lions 78-52 behind 17 made threes. Though the likes of Micah Mason and Derrick Colter are no longer around to light up PPG Paints Arena, Duquesne has its own plethora of weapons that could cause fits for Penn St. Notably, Michael Hughes has missed the last 3 games due to injury but is expected to return to the lineup on Wednesday night. He had a 20 point, 10 rebound performance against Pittsburgh and was playing some of the best basketball for the Dukes this season. The Nittany Lions have been very solid on the boards this season, meaning Mike Hughes is going to have to have a big game.
Duquesne also has this guy named Sincere Carry who’s really turning heads this year. The freshman out of Ohio currently ranks top 15 nationally in steal percentage and assist rate, as he clearly does everything right as a point guard. Setting up his teammates with looks and getting to the rim himself, the freshman Carry will be absolutely crucial if the Dukes want to pull the upset. Penn St. comes into this contest ranking 43rd in Kenpom with a 5-5 record. The Nittany Lions’ only bad loss is to Bradley, but they also boast a 1 point win over Virginia Tech. This Pat Chambers team is strong and should be tough to beat. Though coming off a loss to NC State where Penn St. allowed 89 points, the Nittany Lions definitely look beatable. It’s going to take one heck of a team performance, but a win over Penn St. would be huge for this program tonight.