The men’s basketball team will travel to Pittsburgh, Pa. to take on the Duquesne Dukes in their season opener tomorrow at 2 p.m. It will be the first ever Div. I game for ACU basketball as they enter the season as official members of the Southland conference.
“It’s been a process in trying to get these guys where they need to be in order to compete,” assistant coach Brette Tanner said. “These guys are ready to play and we feel good heading into the weekend.”
The Dukes enter the game with a victory already under their belt in a 103-88 win over Clarion. Duquesne had five players reach double figures in points, including 20 points and 10 rebounds from junior forward Dominique McKoy.
Their game in Pittsburgh is just one stop of the ten games the Wildcats face on the road to start off the season. The team will travel to New York, Iowa, Maryland and Ohio during the long road trip away from Moody Coliseum.
“During this first month, we’re focused mainly on us,” Tanner said. “We’re not really playing specifically to any one of the teams we’ll face. Our main goal and priority is to get everyone playing ACU style basketball, which is defense, hustle and execution.”
The Wildcats will look to defense this year as their anchor. Last year, they held opponents to 67 points a game during the season in which they went 12-14.
“We want to make sure that no matter where we play that we do what we do best,” Tanner said. “If we do that, then no matter what the outcome, we’ll be ok.”
Duquesne put up a 16-15 overall record, while they were just 7-9 in their own conference. The Dukes defended their home court as they were 10-5 when playing in Pittsburgh.
“We know they’re a tough team to beat, especially at home,” junior guard Harrison Hawkins said. “But we have to make sure that we play our way and hopefully we’ll leave with the win.”
After Duquesne, the Wildcats will travel to Olean, N.Y., to face the St. Bonaventure University Bonnies on Monday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcasted through local radio at 98.1 FM.