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Sunday column: Much more on City Game

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Sunday column off the 82nd City Game eyes the future of Duquesne basketball in the hands of Jim Ferry.

Not everyone will agree with the topic choice, given that the Dukes lost to Pitt, 84-67, and haven’t won in 13 years. But I went this way mostly because the City Game is the one day a year they make their biggest public impression. And anyway, the plan is to follow up immediately with a Monday column on the undefeated Panthers.

Here’s some of what Ferry had to say afterward …

And here are Pitt’s James Robinson, Lamar Patterson and Cam Wright

The game story focuses on Wright, by our Duquesne beat man Chris Harlan.

Random randomness from the scene: Interesting that Jamie Dixon expressed surprise that it was his team, rather than Duquesne, that came out hard. Pitt had just one day of practice between Brooklyn and this game, while the Dukes had 10 free days. “They probably spent a lot of that time getting pumped up for it, too,” Dixon said. … Before long, the Dukes’ relentless running of the court — seriously, they just charge the basket en masse — began to wear the Panthers down and draw fouls. Trouble was, Duquesne was 7 of 14 from the stripe in the first half, 18 of 35 overall. “We’d been a 71 percent free-throw team all season,” Ferry lamented. … Don’t tell anyone, but a scout for the Cavaliers — that’s Cleveland’s NBA team — sat to my right and seemed genuinely impressed with Desmond Ridenour, one of two Duquesne youngsters cited in the column. Kid’s good. … Pitt’s Durand Johnson continues to make me wrong for doubting his ability to put the ball on the floor. He’s doing it more often and more efficiently. We’ll see if that holds against ACC competition, but it’s encouraging. … This is worth recording somewhere, but Duquesne’s 44-41 lead that I celebrate in the column’s opening marked the first time this Pitt team has trailed anyone in the second half. … Didn’t last long. The Panthers went on runs of 12-0 and 15-1, mostly fueled by Wright. … Caught the Dukes doing this wild pregame ritual outside their locker room door where they … I don’t know, jump up and down and chant and … whatever. Had to be there. … The attendance of 11,161 was higher than organizers feared it would be, given that students from both schools are gone for the holiday. What a ridiculous time to schedule this game. Here’s hoping the schools are smarter about it next year.

Here’s our Pitt page.

Here’s our Duquesne page.

Here’s our photo gallery of the City Game by Chaz Palla, including this shot of the Dukes’ Ovie Soko stuffing Pitt’s Michael Young


Missing the usual Sunday subject matter?

I’d also call your attention this morning to a Joe Starkey column on the Steelers’ Jason Worilds, LaMarr Woodley and the situation at outside linebacker. It’s quality stuff.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. hockeymonster says:

    Ok so regarding Tanger its getting to the point where if im the opposing coach i’m telling my team to pressure the hair aka tanger at any and all times. He’s making safer and smarter plays a bit more often but he’s still forcing passes, lugging the puck when he should be making short passes, he’s not using his dman partner as an outlet when its the obvious and simple/safe play and maybe most importantly he hasn’t realized that his hands are no where near as good as his skating. As a matter a fact his hands are borderline horrible at times. On top of that he’s attempting fancy passes and plays that only 87 and 71 should be allowed to attempt. He needs to move his feet quick then move the puck even quicker…then he can use his skating to jump into the play after the forwards push back the d. I dont know how many times we gotta see the same mistakes repeated before they’re addressed but its getting old…Just sayin…

  2. Jim S. says:

    Loved the column, DK. As a former resident, I’ve become more of a Pitt fan than Duquesne over the years. It’s just easier to be a Pitt fan. But, I loved Duquesne as a kid. I loved the old Eastern 8 battles between Pitt and Duquesne at packed houses in the Civic Arena. So, I don’t think you have any explaining to do for writing this article. Even as a Pitt fan, I am still happy to read about the Dukes.

    I have not seen much of Duquesne in recent years, and none this year until today. I was impressed, to say the least. There was a large chunk of the game in the middle where they flat out took it to Pitt. They had the Panthers back on their heels for awhile, and it wasn’t even so much that Pitt was playing badly. Duquesne was just playing very well.

    The Dukes have some talent, they play really hard if today was any indication, and their coach appears to be the real deal. I did not know much about Jim Ferry, and expected that he was just another in the long line of well-meaning but failed coaches at Duquesne. But, the thing that struck me about his past teams as I checked into it a bit, is that they attack the basket. We saw that today. If they could have shot 75% from the line today, they would have really pushed Pitt down the stretch. But, if ever there was a time in college basketball where taking the ball to the hoop with reckless abandon is a great strategy it is now. The more aggressive team will find itself on the line a lot. The Dukes may very well make some noise in the A10 this season. I hope Mr. Ferry is able to build something there in the next few years.

  3. Jim S. says:

    Just a few comments regarding Pitt, as I feel like some things are emerging that I have now noticed for several games in a row.

    * We’ve discusse their athleticism and length, and it is off the charts.

    * James Robinson at the start of year 2 just gets better and better. He has the makings of a top 5 in the country PG, in my opinion, by next year. He already plays solid defense, and he shoots much better this year both from 3 point range and at the line. Never makes stupid plays.

    * Remember when Cam Wright was thought by many to be someone who could never contribute in the Big East at the offensive end? Well, now he is contributing mightily at both ends, and should be a huge contributor all year. I am really impressed with his overall offensive game. He looks like a complete player right now.

    * Finally, Mr. Patterson is now a complete player as well. He always showed flashes, but then would disappear at key times for long stretches. He seems intent on leading this team this year.

    I could go on, but I’ll just say I continue to be impressed with this team. It is still early. But, they look like they can play with anyone in the ACC.

  4. Drew71 says:

    Stick Woodley at offensive line. They could use the help.

    Seriously. Last of this team’s problems is one too many effective LBs.

  5. JoeyBats says:

    Duquesne hoops…… STILL rebuilding (hit REPEAT) ….after _____years. :-(

    Looking forward to seeing how the Panthers play when they get into the ACC; I won’t beat the drum on Coach Jamie’s disappointing pre-season schedule year after year….(others have done that enough).

  6. Drew71 says:

    Holy Crap. I may be over my affliction.

    “Why this season is the SEC’s Last Hurrah…
    1. The SEC may do in the SEC. Alabama will have to get by two strong teams, Auburn and Missouri (or SC) to make the BCS Championship Game.”

    I got one RIGHT.

    HEY DEJAN! I got one RIGHT!

    YOUR turn.

  7. Jandy says:

    Good morning Loonies. I don’t follow too much basketball, but it’s encouraging to see signs of improvement in BOTH Burgh teams. That is never a bad thing.

    Daughter from Pittsburgh is visiting, and we are taking her to breakfast.

    Catch yinz later :)

  8. 21sthebest says:

    My only question at this point about Pitt is their bench. They’re going to need to be deeper than Johnson to compete against the best ACC teams.

  9. JoeyBats says:

    Woodley would pull his other calf muscle….IF you put him on the O.Line. ;-)

  10. Drew71 says:

    Could you imagine if the four game playoff began THIS season instead of next?

    Next week’s SEC winner, Auburn or Missouri, would get in as the three seed.

    And Alabama would probably sneak in as the four.

    By the way. A day late, but congrats to Northern Illinois for a perfect regular season.

  11. Jim S. says:

    Enjoy that breakfast, Jandy!

  12. Jim S. says:

    That will be the challenge, 32. So far, they have been going pretty deep with good results. We’ll see as the season goes along.

  13. Jim S. says:

    Total typo there. I was off a spot on my numbers, 21 while typing in the dark. I guess if you switched your avatar to Franco, I’d have been correct.

  14. 21sthebest says:

    LOL! I still like 26.2 though!

  15. 21sthebest says:

    Mmmmm, breakfast.

  16. radio wave says:

    That may have been the most amazing and to any sporting event any time anywhere that any of us has ever seen.

  17. Drew71 says:

    32? OJ?

  18. Drew71 says:

    Two games, four, eight or six
    FSU still beats the d…um…SEC


  19. Jim S. says:


  20. theplanisworking says:

    Is this the Riverhounds thread?

  21. theplanisworking says:

    Game effort from Duquesne yesterday. Coach Ferry is to be commended for instilling hard work, hustle, and positive vibes into the program. But, as the last 12 minutes showed, you simply cant teach talent. Nothing would please me more than to see Duquesne relevant again. DK’s stat of Pitt winning 32 of the last 35 games is unreal.

    For Pitt, yesterday marked a bad shooting game. Pitt was awful for most of the game, with many shots falling short……. a sign of fatigue. If the pantehrs are to be a force in the ACC, they cant afford any off nights shooting-wise.

    The Pens looked good yesterday, or was it awful opposition? Glad to see no stretch passes, which continue to be the achilles heel of the Pens.
    Oh, and Fire Bylsma.

  22. theplanisworking says:

    Rarely in sports does one cheer against certain individuals in team sports ( see Bellicheat, Bill, Harbaugh brothers, etc……) but yesterday’s iron Bowl provided a scene of delicious irony.

    Nick Saban, cheater, liar and lout extrordinaire, received one of the largest karma trains ever. The first quarter of the game, Bama was tighter than Ebeneezer Scrooge, and had a great second quarter, then the Karma quarter began. Whether he went for it, or tried to kick a field goal, he made the wrong decision each time.

    On the final play, I couldnt believe he would try a FG, after what happened earlier in the game. A Hail Mary pass was far less risky, but he tried the FG. Which, if you look at the 1000 replays, was from the opposite hash, meaning that Alabama would have to sprint all the way across the field if indeed it was returned. Just unbelievable.

    And, I shed not one single tear for Saban.
    Maybe he can move to Texas or USC.

  23. Jim S. says:

    I believe we may now see teams trying to take more advantage of kick returns in similar situations. That was great coaching by Malzahn to have that set up, knowing the return was going to be vs. bunch of big, slow lineman + a punter and, in the words of Lou Holtz, a kicker who had signed a non-aggression pact against the enemy as they all do.

  24. JoeyBats says:

    re: Cam Wright…. AGREE….never thought I would see the day that he scored 20 points against a D-1 opponent after watching him the first 2 years. Very nice to see his growth/progression.

    Now….want to see his game develop and grow against the ACC.


  25. hockeymonster says:

    Thought we agreed that disco is back? :)

  26. theplanisworking says:

    Jim, I think what you will see more of is Hail Mary’s, instead of FG’s at end of game situations. You are correct, major props to Malzhan for setting that up.

    I still cant figure out why Saban tried a FG there. It could have been blocked, a fake could have blown up, or a reurn for a TD. Only one good thing could have happened.

    Oh, Irony.

    Oh, and Go Steelers!

  27. theplanisworking says:

    Today’s “great” journalistic find:

    According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the Steelers fear that they will face a hefty fine and possibly lose a draft pick as a result of Mike Tomlin getting in the way of Jacoby Jones on Thanksgiving.

  28. theplanisworking says:

    YOU did, I didn’t. ;)
    ( Nor did Eric, or Sarah). :)

  29. hockeymonster says:

    I think brandie is still anti disco as well. :)

  30. Bizrow says:

    The fine I understand, but a draft pick?

  31. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    The NFL’s way…..Make sure you punish a teams fans.

  32. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    David Schoenfield is obviously unaware of how the Nutting Regime works.

  33. Arriba Wilver says:

    Maybe we can burn all the tapes?

  34. kr70 says:

    nobody could go 0 for 2013

  35. Wonder what this guy is on?

    Whatever it is, get some for Jandy.

  36. Bizrow says:

    I think she has it delivered ;-)

  37. JohninOshkosh says:

    Like your avatar, John!

    Thanks, made me smile. :)

  38. JohninOshkosh says:

    Minnesota Vikings 4:00 away from a second consecutive tie.

  39. JohninOshkosh says:

    Minnesota wins with 1:43 left in OT with a field goal.

    Devastating loss for the Chicago Bears, which blew a 10 point fourth quarter lead.

  40. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    How about that NE win?!
    No penalties on the Cheatriots!
    I guess there is a Santa Claus…..

  41. In honor of you, my friend. We had a factory branch down here across the border in Tennessee for a while, but it closed. That logo was on a bag my wife had after she went there and cleaned out the place for our church clothing ministry.


  42. theplanisworking says:

    how’s this for irony?

    Rooney was the biggest proponent of Goodell getting the commissioners job, even going to his room to give the news directly. But Kraft is the owner of Goodell’s homestate team.

    Since becoming commissioner, Goodell has helped the Cheatriots at every turn (spygate, rues to protect Brady), and has gone out of his way to punish the Steelers ( fines, suspending players).

    Proof, money talks.

  43. theplanisworking says:


    If this was Belicheat, Goodell would fine the Ravens……..

  44. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Sickening….But truer than true.
    I’ll make a solid Dec. 1st Super Bowl pick…

    San Francisco – New England

    Another February nightmare for we Steeler plans that continue to try to PROTECT6………

  45. JohninOshkosh says:

    Very nice scene in Canada’s national capital as Alfredsson returns to Ottawa as a Red Wing.

    Game is on NHL Network.

  46. pattonbb says:

    that kicker was hitting them from 59 in warm ups

  47. pattonbb says:

    Is Tomlin fired yet?

  48. Jim S. says:

    You may be right, plan. That’s the other part of that. Then, again, in the NFL today, the Bears attempted a 65 yd FG in a similar situation. They covered it better, though.

  49. Jim S. says:

    To which I’m sure Dan Rooney will readily agree … for the good of the game.

  50. Sarah says:

    Well…..I am clear that since the PHL series DB should have been gone IMO.

    I thought similar patterns began vs Halak and MTL and also v TB. So, would have been happy if he’d been gone earlier. That’s another story.

    Suffice to say I think DB should have been let go awhile ago, still feel that way, and nothing this year makes me feel differently. On the contrary.

    In fact, one thing I’m gonna watch closely, is if in Sochi when he’s actually coaching AGAINST Crosby, will he come down off his horse and deign to match lines.

    Your thoughts on that one Peeps?

  51. The Gunner says:

    Tomlin isn’t going anywhere, Patton

  52. pattonbb says:

    I know….but a guy can wish.

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