PITTSBURGH — Pitt and Duquesne won’t play this season, with the intracity rivals failing to meet on the hardwood for the first time since 1969-70.
Pitt decided not to renew the contact for the rivalry game in advance of the 2019-20 season, instead inking a two-year arrangement that will begin in 2020-21, halting the streak of consecutive seasons the City Game was played at 39.
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When the decision not to play this season was announced, Pitt took ownership of the situation.
“Unfortunately, our men’s basketball scheduling dynamics will not allow us to play the game in 2019,” athletic director Heather Lyke said. “We look forward to resuming the game with great anticipation in 2020 and 2021.”
On Monday, Pitt narrowly defeated Northern Illinois in front of an announced crowd of 7,015 that appeared to be significantly smaller in actuality. Duquesne had the night off, with seven days in between trips to Akron, Ohio to play Radford on Dec. 14 and St. Petersburg, Florida to play Austin Peay and UAB.
The Dukes are without a home floor this year while the new UPMC Chuck Cooper Fieldhouse is being constructed on their campus, and the Dukes are playing some home games at PPG Paints Arena. As a result, Duquesne agreed to play a one-off game at Petersen Events Center on Pitt’s campus this year. But the Panthers still said no, citing their early season trip to open Robert Morris’ new building as an excuse for not wanting to play Duquesne.
After Pitt’s win over NIU, head coach Jeff Capel was asked about how involved he was in the process to skip the rivalry game this season. The second-year coach snapped back, defending his scheduled process.
“I have involvement in my schedule,” Capel said. “It’s my schedule, so I have involvement in that. I had a lot of involvement in the scheduling, but there were some things that happened that we decided not to play them this year.”
When asked what those things were, Capel declined to answer.
“Those are things that are between me and my AD,” he said.