Husky hoops hysteria is in full force this week, as the Northeastern men’s basketball team kicks off the season on Friday night against cross-town rival Boston University at a sure-to-be raucous Matthews Arena. The Huskies have high hopes for the season and a barrage of exciting activities have been planned to get fans in on the action.
Tickets for opening night are available for students on myNEU and on GoNU.com/tickets for faculty and staff. The excitement surrounding the game has been heightened by last season’s opener, in which the Huskies defeated the BU Terriers in an overtime thriller, 82-74.
Basketball players fired-up fans on Saturday night at Matthews Arena during the first intermission of the men’s hockey game. Northeastern cheer teams will invade the dining halls all this week to fire up fans for the start of the season.
Students, faculty and staff can also get an early look at the team at the annual open practice on Tuesday from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. at the Cabot Physical Education Center. There, fans will get a behind-the-scenes preview of this year’s team and how the Huskies are preparing for the home opener. Did we mention the free coffee and donuts?
At Friday night’s opener, the Office of Alumni Relations will launch the Spot, a family-friendly gathering area on the floor at the end of Matthews Arena. Modeled after the successful FanFest events, the Spot offers free admission for alumni and their families, as well as students age 21 and older, from 6-7 p.m. and again at halftime. Family-friendly activities and giveaways are also planned.
This season, the men’s basketball team boasts a talented group of returning veterans including guard Joel Smith and second-year stars Quincy Ford and Reggie Spencer. Last season, Ford earned a spot on the CAA All-Rookie team and the 2012 CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Freshmen All-America team.
The Huskies have added a talented group of versatile freshmen, including guards David Walker from Ohio, Zach Stahl from Minnesota and Derrico Peck from Georgia. Center Dinko Marshavelski, who hails from Bulgaria, will return after missing last season because of an injury.
The Huskies will hope for a midseason boost with the return of senior and co-captain Jonathan Lee, who suffered a preseason injury. Lee has also been selected as one of only 30 candidates nationwide for the Senior CLASS Award, which honors student athletes who excel both on and off the court.
In August, the team posted an impressive 6-1 record on an eight-day exhibition tour through Canada. Northeastern Athletics has launched the four-part video series “Huskies Unleashed,” providing fans with a behind-the-scenes look at the team’s tour up north and its preparations for the season. The third episode was unveiled last week, and the final episode will be revealed on Wednesday on the Athletics Facebook page.
Head coach Bill Coen said the Canadian tour served as a great opportunity to build team chemistry.
“We learned a lot about ourselves on the court in terms of our basketball abilities, but maybe even more importantly we got closer as a unit and developed great bonds that we’re going to need as we face adversity this season,” Coen said.
The team will make nine television appearances this season, including a nationally-televised matchup on NBC Sports with CAA rival George Mason on Jan. 3. CBS Sports Network will broadcast two Northeastern games from the Great Alaska Shootout on Friday, Nov. 23, and Saturday, Nov. 24.