Matchup: Virginia Military Institute (0-1) at Duquesne (1-0_
Start time: 7 pm EST
Venue: Palumbo Center in Pittsburgh, Pa
Last meeting: VMI defeated Duquesne 73-66 in the 1977 NCAA tournament. This was the only time the two met.
The Dukes kicked off Keith Dambrot’s reign as head coach with an 80-70 victory over St. Francis Brooklyn. After coming out a bit sluggish and having to deal with only eight scholarship players available, the Dukes settled down in the second half of play. Going into the break tied at 32, Duquesne outscored the Terriers in the second half 48-38 thanks to strong performances by graduate senior Rene Castro-Caneddy, junior Tarin Smith and freshman Eric Williams Jr. The Dukes started out the second half with a 16-2 lead.
- Castro-Caneddy, who scored 23 points, four steal and two rebounds, came out of the gates strong, prompting our lead Duquesne writer to believe he’s finally arrived at his potential on the college basketball scene.
- Williams Jr. didn’t disappoint either. The freshman collected a double-double in his debut, becoming the first Duke ever to accomplish this feat (17 points and 12 rebounds)
- Clean it up from the line: The Dukes shot a made a miserable 31 of 45 attempts at the charity stripe against SFU.
- Need to make shots behind the arc, as Duquesne went 3-for-26.
Look for these two and veterans like Smith, Mike Lewis II and Jordan Robinson to get more involved in this matchup.
This will be the second meeting between Duquesne and VMI. VMI is led by senior Armani Branch, a forward and junior guard Adrian Rich. Much like the Dukes, the Keydets are load with freshman, seven active to be exact. One of those freshmen, Bubba Parham, led the Keydets with 22 points in their last matchup against NC State. The team shot 36 percent, including an abysmal 4-of-20 from downtown.
Expect a few miscues on both sides of the ball, as each team relies heavily on their inexperienced freshmen players.
Duquesne announces a big recruiting class
Read more about the impressive new crop of Duquesne Dukes coming in 2018 right here.
Joe Cinello covers Pirates material for Pittsburgh Sports Castle. Connect with him on Facebook (Joey Cinello), Linkedin (Joseph Cinello) and Twitter (@JCinello).