@DuqMBB Hits the Road to Face No. 2 (AP) Kentucky
Nov. 19, 2016
Duquesne (2-2), playing its third of three games in five days, heads to Kentucky to face the No. 2 (AP) Wildcats (3-0) in its second game of the Bluegrass Showcase on Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. at Rupp Arena (ESPNU). The Dukes opened their current stretch with an 89-75 home win over Saint Francis U Wednesday, and followed that with a Bluegrass Showcase 78-77 last-second loss Canisius at home on Friday.
This is the second meeting between the Dukes and Wildcats. The last was also part of a UK tournament, a 55-42 win by No. 2 Kentucky in the first round of the UK Invitation Tournament on Dec. 17, 1982 at Rupp Arena. The crowd for that game (23,964) stands as the largest at DU team has played before in its 101 seasons of basketball.
This is DU's first game against an SEC opponent in 19 seasons. The last was on Dec. 3, 1997 at Florida (a 99-66 defeat).
Duquesne is 6-12 all-time against schools that comprise the current SEC.
The Dukes are looking for their first win on a current SEC team's home floor (0-5).
DU's last win over a current SEC team came on Jan. 30, 1978 at home over South Carolina (63-61) when the Gamecocks were an independent
Duquesne's last win over an active SEC team was on Dec. 27, 1972 over Georgia (71-66) at the Quaker City Tournament in Philadelphia.
The Wildcats are in their eighth season under Moon Township, Pa. native and Clarion University graduate John Calipari. Calipari is 121-4 at Rupp Arena, with the lone non-conference loss coming to Baylor on Dec. 1, 2012. The loss was Calipari's first at Rupp, ending a 54-game win streak. UK's current home streak stands at 39 - second only to Kansas' nation-best 43-game streak. Calipari is 11-4 all time vs. Duquesne, with all 15 meetings coming during his eight seasons at Massachusetts (1988-89 through 1995-96).
UK is the highest-ranked team Duquesne has played since it faced No. 2 (AP) Pitt on Dec. 8, 2007 at Petersen Events Center (L, 56-73). This is the highest ranked team DU head coach Jim Ferry has faced (previous was No. 5 (AP) Michigan State in the 2012 NCAA Tournament when he was at LIU (L, 67-89).
Ferry guided the Dukes to a 71-64 win at then-No. 10 (AP) Saint Louis on Jan. 22, 2014. The win was DU's first road win over a Top 10 team since 1962 (73-72 at #6 (AP) Bradley on Mar. 5, 1962).
The highest ranked team any Duquesne team has ever defeated is #2 (AP) St. Bonaventure at home on Mar. 1, 1961 (79-74 in OT). The Dukes were unranked at the time.
Jim Tucker (1952-54), who was inducted to the Kentucky High School Association Hall of Fame in April of 2012, was an All-American for the Dukes in 1952. Tucker, who played at Paris (Ky.) Western High School in the late-1940s, led DU to a 70-15 record and three consecutive AP Top 10 rankings in his three seasons on the Bluff. Tucker was the first player in school history to score 500 points in a season (512 points, 18.9 ppg.) when he helped lead the `52 Dukes to a 23-4 record and No. 4 national rank as a sophomore. The `54 Dukes were the first (and only) DU team to ever reach No. 1 in both the AP and UPI polls following a 20-0 start. Duquesne head coach Dudey Moore called Tucker: "the greatest jumper in college basketball today" in 1953. Tucker, who played three seasons with the NBA Syracuse Nationals, joined Earl Lloyd as one of the first two African-American players to play for an NBA championship team in 1955. Tucker is also the answer to a trivia question, having recorded the fastest triple-double in NBA history (17 minutes) in a game against the New York Knicks on Feb. 20, 1955 (finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists).
Starting center Darius Lewis' home is located just two miles from Rupp Arena. Born and raised in Lexington, Lewis played two years of high school ball at Tates Creek High School before transferring to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The 6-11 center was named the "Top Sleeper" among underclassmen in Kentucky by Rick Bolus' High Potential Recruiting Service prior to the 2011-12 season and his move to Florida.
Duquesne's first-year director of player development, Dominic Lombardi, spent two seasons on John Calipari's staff as the assistant video coordinator (2013 & 2014).
Freshmen Isiaha Mike and Mike Lewis II both started the season opener vs. Loyola, Md., marking just the third time in the past 30 years - and first since 2006-07 - that multiple freshmen started the season opener. Four of DU's starters (Emile Blackman and Tarin Smith along with Mike & Lewis II) are in their first season in a Dukes uniform.
The Dukes broke out of a two-game .413 shooting start (10-of-35 from 3-point) to hit 52.5 percent of their shots in the win over Saint Francis U. DU went 13-of-25 from the arc. vs. the Red Flash. DU followed that with a 48.1 percent effort vs. Canisius.
Duquesne has had four different leading scorers and four different leading rebounders in each of its first four games (Tarin Smith and Emile Blackman tied for scoring honors vs. Canisius, it was the first time for Blackman).