RENE CASTRO-CANEDDY played a big role in Duquesne’s season-opening win against St. Francis, 80-70, Nov. 11. (Photos courtesy Duquesne Dukes)

:10—Stop the presses…Stop the presses…Stop the presses. Now hear this. Duquesne University basketball is back on the bluff. First year coach Keith Dambrot promised in his introduction to the Pittsburgh media, “If you’re not playing ‘D,’ you’re sitting next to me!” And the evidence was shown this past Saturday, Nov. 11, as the Dukes opened the season giving Coach Dambrot an out the gate victory over St. Francis of Brooklyn, New York. Despite a pause in the action from a phoned-in bomb threat and the very serious K-9s looking for it, the Dukes did most of the exploding, especially in the final ten minutes of the game. At the half, the 32-32 tie had you thinking things might be the same this season, but coming down the stretch the superior guard play of Mike Lewis, Torin Smith and Rene Castro-Caneddy proved to be too much Pittsburgh for the boys from the Apple, as Duquesne won, 80-70. Lewis, even with a poor shooting night, gives you visions of “Westbrook” and Smith is the real deal and gives you hardcore work. But it was high point man, Caneddy, with 22 on the night, who clearly reminded you of Earl “The Pearl” Monroe as he moved and grooved and snaked his way to the basket almost at will. Six-foot-five Eric Williams might be the best total package player on this new Dukes team. He shoots the three, dunks inside, rebounds, blocks shots and is true at the foul line. Jordan Robinson brings at 6’8” the mean and nasty inside. I’ve seen a lot of Dukes basketball and this looks like a good one, and the noise from the finally large and loud crowd supports that. But, it’s early. Stay tuned!

BILL NEAL

:09—Pittsburgh can be happy and take pride in knowing that homegrown talent and Pittsburgh Obama grad Darelle Porter Jr. represented well, and had it not been for early foul trouble, his beginning may have been different. The 6’5” rangy swingman finished with 11 points and was a difference maker. “The apple does not fall far from the tree.”

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