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Huskies to play at Garden in Tip-Off Classic

The Northeastern University men’s basketball team will take over the parquet at the TD Garden—the home of the Boston Celtics—as part of a December double-header featuring some of the region’s top collegiate hoops programs.

The Huskies will play Colonial Athletic Association conference foe Drexel in the first game of the inaugural Boston Tip-Off Classic on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 4 p.m.

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst will play Boston College at 6:30 p.m. Both games will be televised live on Comcast SportsNet.

The double-header could be the start of an annual tournament in Boston featuring Northeastern and powerhouse programs such as Duke, North Carolina and Kansas, said George Gardner, Northeastern’s associate athletic director of external affairs.

Speaking at a press conference at the TD Garden on Wednesday, some of the region’s top coaches said they couldn’t wait to showcase the talent and intensity of New England college basketball.

“This type of event is long overdue,” said Northeastern head coach Bill Coen, named the 2010 U.S. Basketball Writers Association District 1 Coach of the Year for leading his players to a 20-12 regular-season record.

“It will be such a thrill for our team, students, alumni and fans to have the opportunity to compete at the TD Garden,” he added. “It’s going to be an experience that will remain with our student-athletes forever.”

The two-game showdown could help restore Boston as “the epicenter of college basketball,” said University of Massachusetts head coach Derek Kellogg, adding, “We want to get people in the city excited about everything that’s going on in New England college basketball.”

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino echoed Kellogg, calling college basketball “one of the finest sporting events in the country,” and vowing to work with universities to raise the profile of college basketball in Boston.

Fans can buy tickets to the double-header at the TD Garden Box Office, or by logging on to www.ticketmaster.com. All proceeds will benefit Children’s Hospital Boston and Al’s Angels, a nonprofit organization that provides holiday meals to financially struggling New England families. Please visit www.BostonTipOff.com for more information on the event.

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