Luke Henne | Sports Editor
Sept. 2, 2021
In his fifth season at the helm, Head Coach Keith Dambrot looks like he’s assembled what might be his strongest non-conference schedule during his Duquesne tenure.
The men’s basketball program released its 2021-22 non-conference slate on Aug. 26, with seven home games highlighting what will be the team’s first fully on-campus campaign since 2018-19.
It all gets started on Nov. 9, when the Dukes welcome Rider to town to reopen the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse at full capacity. It will also be a homecoming for Jett Roesing, a Pittsburgh native who played one game with Duquesne last season before transferring to Rider.
Two games in three days against solid opponents in Hofstra (Nov. 13) and Weber State (Nov. 15) will help keep Duquesne busy during the season’s first week.
Hofstra won 13 of 23 games last season after claiming the Colonial Athletic Association title prior the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019-20. Weber State went 17-6 last season and has appeared in postseason competition during nine of Head Coach Randy Rahe’s 15 seasons.
Prior to Thanksgiving, the Dukes will play three games in St. Thomas during the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam tournament. A quarterfinal matchup with Northeastern is already set for Nov. 19.
Depending on outcomes of other tournament games, Duquesne could wind up playing the likes of Colorado, Colorado State, or Creighton. Colorado and Creighton both won at least one game during last year’s NCAA Tournament, while Colorado State was a semifinalist in last season’s National Invitation Tournament.
Following the holiday, the Dukes return home for a pair of back-to-back games against American (Nov. 28) and Bowling Green (Dec. 1). Dylan Swingle, now at Bowling Green, will return to Pittsburgh after spending the 2018-19 season as a redshirt with the Dukes.
Following the brief homestand, a two-game road trip will take Duquesne to Huntington, W.Va., and Chicago for contests with Marshall (Dec. 4) and DePaul (Dec. 7), respectively.
The matchup with Marshall will mark the Dukes’ first true non-conference road game since they took on Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., on Nov. 20, 2018. DePaul, a member of the Big East Conference, will be the first power conference opponent for the Dukes since they battled Penn State to the wire on Dec. 19, 2018.
The Dukes will return home for a quick clash with New Hampshire on Dec. 11.
On Dec. 19, Duquesne will travel to Akron, Ohio, to take on UC Irvine. The game will take Dambrot back to the city where he was born, coached NBA superstar LeBron James in high school and coached at the University of Akron for 13 years prior to coming to Duquesne.
The trip to Akron has become somewhat of an annual tradition (with last year being an exception due to Covid-19 restrictions). In both 2018-19 and 2019-20, Duquesne played Radford in the city, defeating the Highlanders in both contests.
However, UC Irvine will be no easy match. The Anteaters won 18 games last season and advanced to the Big West Conference Tournament’s championship game. In 2018-19, Head Coach Russell Turner led the program to a 31-6 season and an upset victory over Kansas State in the NCAA Tournament.
The non-conference slate concludes with a home date against Wofford on Dec. 22. In two seasons since former Head Coach Mike Young departed for Virginia Tech, successor Jay McAuley has compiled an impressive 34-25 overall record.
For the third consecutive season, neither Pitt nor Robert Morris will appear on the Dukes’ schedule. Duquesne last played Pitt on Nov. 30, 2018, while having not squared off with Robert Morris since Nov. 19, 2017.