There’s a historic sporting event on tap tonight: for the 35th and last time, Duquesne and Pitt will meet for the last time in the City Game at the Mellon Arena. (I want you to take note, JTR fans, because this is one of the few times you will see me act like a shameless fan.)
Both the Dukes and the Panthers are 5-1, with Pitt having won the last eight meetings between the two. The last time Duquesne won was December 21, 2000, when Aaron Lovelace hit the game-winning bank shot with 2.2 seconds remaining in a 71-70 victory.
I was at that game, a sophomore at Duquesne, watching the game with my roommate, Anthony, my long-time schoolmate Jon, and my cousin Nate. I don’t remember jumping up and down that much after any other game. We walked back to my parents’ house in the Hill District talking a bunch of trash on the Pitt fans the whole way.
Yeah… that’s pretty much where our Duquesne-Pitt trash talk ended.
This time the two will meet again at the Mellon Arena for the last time tonight, as the historic venue will give way to the new Consol Energy Center. But I’m bringing a little good luck for Duquesne with me in hopes to re-capture one last Duquesne celebration on the Mellon hardwood.
It’s my 2000-01 Duquesne men’s basketball jersey, #00, worn by none other than Simon Ogunlesi. (Don’t ask how I got it. That’s classified.)
Here’s a pic of my sweet Dukes threads:
(Yeah, you want one, too!)
This jersey has serious Duquesne magic. This is the jersey of a man that not only stepped on the face of an opposing Pitt player in that 2000 game, but was also one of 10 brought up on Federal indictment for a credit card and check cashing scheme that totaled nearly $36,000 in June of 1999. He and two of his teammates, Jamal Hunter and Devone Stephenson, eventually were dismissed from the team because of the indictment.
You can’t make up a funnier story of dubious behavior by members of a mediocre college basketball program.
But the point is, Duquesne hasn’t beat Pitt since that day, and it’s time to end that losing streak. Here’s to hoping the Dukes bring back the bragging rights tonight.