WKU men’s basketball to play at Madison Square Garden on Thanksgiving Day

WKU’s Head Coach Ray Harper (center) leads the Toppers in a cheer during a timeout in the second half of WKUÕs 68-64 victory over Texas State on Saturday, Feb. 1, at Diddle Arena. (Mike Clark/HERALD)

Elliott Pratt

The WKU men’s basketball will play three games in the NIT-season Tip-Off, including a Thanksgiving Day game at historic Madison Square Garden in New York City against Saint Joseph’s.

WKU will play at Minnesota on Tuesday, Nov. 18 on ESPN3 at 7:00 p.m. CT, then travel to Stony Brook on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 6:00 p.m. CT. The Saint Joseph’s game at Madison Square Garden will air on ESPNU at 5:00 p.m. CT.

The Hilltoppers are 18-21 all-time at the Garden with the last event coming during the 1986-87 season. 

“Playing in this tournament will give our team a chance to face quality opponents early in the season,” head coach Ray Harper said in an press release. “All three of these teams had very successful seasons last year, and each game will be a challenge but come with an opportunity for us to earn key early-season victories. Playing in the legendary Madison Square Garden is something that every player, and every coach, dreams about, and we are very excited to be heading there on Thanksgiving night.”

WKU is 6-3 all-time against Saint Joseph’s, with the Hawks winning three of the last four meetings. 

The Hilltoppers and the Golden Gophers last played in the 2010 Puerto Rico Tip-Off, with Minnesota winning 95-77. Minnesota’s coach, Richard Pitino, son of Louisville’s Rick Pitino, previously coached at Florida International when the Hilltoppers defeated the Panthers for the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Tournament title. 

The Nov. 25 game between WKU and Stony Brook have will be the first ever meeting between the two schools. 

WKU opens the regular season in Diddle Arena on Nov. 14 againt Austin Peay.