Duquesne basketball will host Chatham Wednesday at 7 p.m. in an exhibition contest to raise money for the United Way’s hurricane relief efforts in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
It will be fans’ first chance to see the Dukes play this year under new coach Keith Dambrot.
“I felt like we should do something,” Dambrot said in an interview Tuesday. “To try to help someone even if we contribute just a little bit a money… and then it helps us just being able to put the uniforms on.”
Injuries have forced the Dukes to start the season with a rotation of just eight players, meaning Wednesday’s contest is important for the team’s growth with the season opener only 10 days away.
“We have to kind of tweak ourselves a bit and learn how to play with just eight,” Dambrot said. “That’s even coaching, because if you’re an aggressive defensive team like I am, then that becomes an issue because of fouls and fatigue.”
The Dukes will remain thin up front with a rotation of graduate student Jordan Robinson and freshmen Tydus Verhoeven and Nicholas Kratholm. In the team’s first exhibition contest, Robinson received 18 touches in the post, an indication Dambrot is committed to running the offense through the interior despite having a short bench.
The limited rotation has also forced Dambrot to rethink his defensive strategy, particularly how aggressive the Dukes want to be pressuring the ball.
“We might have to mix and match a little bit on how much we pressure the ball,” Dambrot said. “And also just our substitution pattern, because really we don’t have a lot of bigger guys right now.”
Dambrot wants to build on the first exhibition game in which the Dukes “did some good things and did some bad things.” He added fatigue did play a role, and that he might consider playing more zone in the future to keep players from wearing down in the later stages of games.
Leading up to the season, Dambrot has urged fans to fill the Palumbo Center, and Wednesday is the home crowd’s first chance to deliver while helping the Dukes raise money for a good cause.
“It’s a good Pittsburgh event to raise some money for people that need it and just to get out in front of the lights,” Dambrot said. “To see how these young kids react to the lights.”
Game information: Tickets will be available at the Gate B entrance to the Palumbo Center beginning one hour prior to tipoff. Admission will be cash only—minimum $5 for adults and $1 for children and current Duquesne students. Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. Free parking will be available in the Forbes Avenue garage.
Other notes: Graduate transfer center Chas Brown will remain out at least through the month of November … “We had to put him in a cast,” Dambrot said … he doesn’t expect Brown back until at least the first week of December … junior forward Marko Krivacevic also remains in a cast after breaking his hand, and Dambrot expects he’ll be available in early December … sophomore forward Kellen Taylor won’t be available until the football team wraps up their season … sophomore transfer guard Frankie Hughes injured his back in practice Monday morning and put a scare into the coaching staff … he appears to be doing better now but is wearing a brace.