Prugar: It’s the Palumbo Center’s world and we’re just living in it

Posted on Jan 31 2018 - 3:25pm by Jarrod Prugar
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The A.J. Palumbo Center plays host to hundreds of events every year whether they be conferences, conventions or basketball games. This year has been different than most with the arena hosting not only Duquesne men’s and women’s basketball teams, but also a majority of Robert Morris’ men’s basketball games while the Colonials build their new arena.

Between the two teams, only four games played at the Palumbo Center have been losses, with the Dukes losing their home contest against the Colonials at the beginning of the season. Duquesne has suffered only two other setbacks at home aside from their loss to Robert Morris, a non-conference loss to Cornell and a conference loss to Richmond. The Colonials, on the other hand, have lost only once in three games played so far at the Palumbo Center with their lone loss to Canisius before Christmas.

Both Robert Morris and Duquesne have taken the city by storm this season while Pitt wallows in self-pity, struggling to find success in the ACC under Kevin Stallings. The Colonials and Dukes are both sit in the top-five of their respective conferences with Duquesne at five in the Atlantic 10 while Robert Morris holds second place in the Northeast Conference.

The Colonials are set to play two of their final eight games of the season at the Palumbo Center and look to continue their winning ways thus far.

Let’s look at how the teams in the Pittsburgh area did over the last week.

Pittsburgh Panthers

The Panthers of Pittsburgh have struggled mightily since joining the ACC and this year is no different.

Our own Cody Flavell took a look at this in his most recent piece on Pitt hoops. Pitt is currently 0-9 in the ACC and showing slight signs of improvement losing by four and five points to NC State and Syracuse respectively following getting run out of Durham against Duke last week.

Improvement will most likely be short-lived as Stallings and company head to South Beach to take on Miami before finishing up their road trip with North Carolina and Clemson. Will Pitt pull off an improbable upset? It’s college basketball so anything is possible, but in their next three games, the Panthers will be looking to not get embarrassed and stay healthy leading into the off-season.

Duquesne Dukes

The Dukes have hit a lull of late losing three of their last four games by a total of 14 points. As a result, Keith Dambrot’s squad has fallen to fifth in the A10 standings as conference play is beginning to heat up.

Duquesne suffered setbacks against Richmond and Rhode Island over the past week. The 3-point loss to Rhode Island came on the road against a team ranked No. 24 in the country. To say the future remains bright for Dambrot and company not only this year but also for the foreseeable future would be an understatement.

The Dukes hit the road to take on George Washington tonight before returning home to face St. Bonaventure and heading to Dayton Feb. 7.

Robert Morris Colonials

Two of the three conference losses Robert Morris has suffered this season have come at the hands of the Wagner Seahawks, who overcame a double-digit deficit to take down the Colonials for the second time in three games over the weekend.

The setbacks for Andy Toole’s squad come on the heels of conference play that has seen Robert Morris turn heads heading into the homestretch of the season. The Colonials play host to conference foe Mount St. Marys Thursday at PPG Paints Arena before welcoming Farleigh Dickinson to the paint can this weekend.

Other Notables:

Robert Morris Women

The Robert Morris women have yet to lose in 2018, winning all seven of their games so far while jumping out to nine conference victories in a row. The Colonials have only lost three games this season with their last loss coming against Kent State Dec. 19.

Robert Morris found themselves named to the mid-major Top-25, coming in at 24 this week. It’s the first such honor for the Colonials since December of 2011. Coach Charlie Buscaglia and company will head to Loretto, PA for a match-up against in-state and conference rival St. Francis for supremacy in the NEC this Saturday.

Penn State

The Nittany Lions have had an up and down season so far with many chances to seal games late evaporating only to see the opposing team come up victorious. On the road against the then-13th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, Penn State set themselves up with what would be one of their most dramatic finishes of the season.

Up 13 at one point in the second half, the Buckeyes charged back to tie the game with only seconds left, however, the lead did not last long at all as Tony Carr put the finishing touches and the final basket through the net to seal the game with well… just take a look.