Consol Energy Center was packed, but it wasn’t for Pittsburgh Penguins hockey. Rather, the large crowd was there for the annual City Game between the Duquesne Dukes and Pitt Panthers.
In this, the 81st edition, it was the Panthers who emerged victorious by a score of 66-45.
Leading the way was Tray Woodall, who had 24 points for Pittsburgh.
“[Tray] was tremendous,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “That may have been the best game he’s played.”
Teammates Lamar Patterson and Steven Adams also had important contributions as the former had 13 points and the latter had eight, plus a career-high 14 rebounds and two blocks.
Duquesne was led by senior Sean Johnson who scored 13 points. Still that was not enough for Johnson who was visably frustrated after the game.
“I still think we could beat this team but it is what it is,” Johnson said.
The first half had a slow pace to it as teams failed to score, and it often wasn’t pretty when the ball did go in the basket. The hero in the opening half was Woodall, whose 14 points included three from 3-point range.
At the half, the Panthers led 29-17 as they created some separation. The key were the rebounds that led to second-chance points. Pittsburgh had 31 rebounds in the first half to Duquesne’s 21; this includes a 13-5 advantage on the offensive side. The Panthers had a 10-0 advantage on second chance points.
The Panthers shot just 27 percent from the field in the first half while the Dukes shot 24.1 percent.
Despite a 3-point play to open the second half, the Dukes were unable to maintain that momentum as the Panthers continued to add to their lead.
Midway through the second half, Duquesne appeared to get back in the game as Jerry Jones and Sean Johnson each made a 3 to put them down 11. But the Panthers were just too tough though for the deficit to be overcome.
The exclamation point was provided with 9:35 left in regulation when, on a fast break, Lamar Patterson found J.J. Moore for a loud dunk. The Panthers were up 49-32 at this point.
As the game drew to a close both Woodall and Adams were taken out to the applause of Panthers fans who showed their appreciation.
Both the Dukes and Panthers were well represented as fans from both teams sat behind opposing baskets and were very vocal through the game. As the outcome of the game was decided, however, the Dukes fans started filing out of Consol.
Following the game, a clearly disgusted Duquesne coach Jim Ferry was disappointed in the effort his Dukes displayed.
“We just didn’t play well,” Ferry said. “We played good but we didn’t play well. If you want to beat Pitt, you have to out-rebound them and we didn’t.”
The Panthers are now 8-1 on the season and up next on their schedule is a game Saturday against North Florida.
The Panthers have now won 12 games in a row vs. Duquesne.
1. Attendance at the game was 13,089.
2. Following his “indefinite suspension,” Trey Ziegler was back in a Panthers uniform and played 14 minutes while being held scoreless. Here were Dixon’s thoughts on him: “It’s good to have him. He’s done everything he’s needed to do and I think he’s looking forward to getting in the flow and playing better each day.”
3. Following the Dukes’ opening 3-pointer, they went 4 for 20 from long range the rest of the game. The Panthers had worked on containing the 3 and their hard work paid off.4. The zone had been an issue for the Panthers, who had addressed it the past two practices, and according to Dixon, his team “responded well.”
5. Among the people at the game were Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress and Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. Both received a standing ovation. The latter made a cameo at the Oakland Zoo and posed for pictures with some of the members and even participated in some of the Zoo’s trademarks.
They said it:”Two great coaches, two great programs–that is bad for college athletics. Shame on both of them.” – Duquesne coach Jim Ferry on Pitt and West Virginia for not playing each other this season.