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July 26, 2017 | Basketball (M)

6 NCAA games to open men’s basketball season

Head coach Rastko Popovic has agreed to six home games versus NCAA Division 1 opponents to launch the 2017-18 Concordia Stingers men’s basketball season.

“It will be exciting for our young players to get game experience against quality competition,” said Popovic. “It’s a great early opportunity for our players to measure themselves against NCAA Division 1 talent.

“We also felt six games in 10 days is a good way for our fans to get a jump start on the university basketball season. These games will be great battles, and we feel they are winnable for us.”

The contests begin Monday, Aug. 21 when the Canisius Griffins, a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference team from Buffalo, N.Y., come to Concordia gym. The Griffs posted an 18-16 win-loss record last season.

The rest of the schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, Aug. 23 vs. Northeastern Huskies (Colonial Athletic Association)

Thursday, Aug. 24 vs. New Hampshire Wildcats (American East Conference)

Tuesday, Aug. 29 vs. St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers (Northeast Conference)

Thursday, Aug. 31 vs. Siena Saints (Metro Atlantic Conference)

Friday, Sept. 1 vs. Hofstra Pride - (Colonial Athletic Association)

All games start at 7 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door.

Popovic expects to take a hard look at his young players in these games.

“It’s good for a young team to be able to work on specific things on offence and defence,” he said. “It will give us lots of film to study film to help us get ready for preseason versus our USPORTS opponents. Everyone should play, but we really want to give our young guys a chance. We will start one or two rookies most games.”

The Stingers will play another 12 games before conference action starts. There’s 11 contests versus Canadian opponents including the Concordia Classic tournament Oct. 6-8. The team will also travel to the U.S. to play the University of Vermont on Oct. 29.

The RSEQ season opens Thursday, Nov. 9 when the Stingers host the Bishop’s Gaiters.