FORT MYERS, Fla. - The nationally-acclaimed Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team will return to Alico Arena, hosting the University of Hartford Hawks in the 2013-14 #Dunk City home opener on Tuesday, November 12. The contest will tip-off at an early rising 7 a.m. start on ESPN2, as part of ESPN’s 24-Hour Tip-Off Marathon. The annual event is held the first Tuesday of the season and involves twelve consecutive contests in selected matchups from across the country, literally providing a full day of college basketball.
The game has been tabbed “Breakfast on the Beach,” and amongst other celebratory aspects, will include a commemorative t-shirt being provided to all attendees. Also, fans in attendance will witness the pre-game unveiling of FGCU’s Sweet Sixteen banner to commemorate the Eagles record setting run as the first ever fifteenth-seed to ever accomplish such a feat in NCAA tournament history.
“Getting to open our season with a nationally-televised game is a great way to show our fans everywhere how hard we’ve been working in the offseason,” men’s basketball Head Coach Joe Dooley said. “It’s an opportunity for us to build on the success of last season, and play a challenging game against a team that is picked to lead their conference.”
Also scheduled for the game’s halftime is a ceremony to recognize the Eagles Women’s Basketball team. The ladies will be honored for their 2013 Atlantic Sun Conference title, and sixth straight trip to a postseason tournament. Later in the evening they will take on Bethune-Cookman at 7pm in their own home opener. During halftime of the evening contest, the men’s team’s historical journey to the NCAA Tournament will be memorialized with a Sweet 16 ring ceremony and the unveiling of their A-Sun Conference Tournament championship banner.
After being the first No. 15 seed in NCAA Tournament history to play in the Sweet 16, FGCU finished the 2012-13 season ranked No. 25 in the final USA Today/Coaches Poll. Any notions that the Eagle’s success ended last season are quickly erased after looking at the 2013-14 roster. The Eagles roster lists nine returners, including four starters, and three Division I transfers, who averaged a combined 28.2 points per game last season.
With Hartford predicted to finish as one of the top teams in America East Conference, the November 12 matchup will certainly be an exciting challenge. The Hawks finished the 2012-13 season 17-14 after falling to Rider in the first round of the CIT.
Due to an overwhelming record demand for FGCU Basketball season tickets, two additional sections of seating have been converted to priority reserved status, of which a limited number remain. Fans who wish to purchase season tickets for the 2013-14 campaign are strongly encouraged to contact the FGCU Ticket Office at 239-590-7145. Single game tickets will go on sale in early September.