HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Northern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team is heading to the west coast in November to participate in the four-game National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation Challenge at the University of San Diego.
NKU, entering its inaugural season of NCAA Division I play, meets host San Diego (13-18 last year) on Nov. 14, followed by games against Tulsa (Nov. 15), Siena (Nov. 17) and Cal State Northridge (Nov. 18).
Tulsa, a member of Conference USA, posted a 17-14 record last season. The Golden Hurricane arecoached by former NBA standout and Kansas All-American Danny Manning.
Siena, which competes in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, finished 14-17 last season. The Saints feature post player O.D. Anosike, who led the nation in rebounds per game (12.5) last season.
NKU concludes the trip by meeting Cal State Northridge, which posted a 7-21 record last season. The Matadors are members of the Big West Conference.
“It’s going to be an interesting beginning to our first year in Division I,” NKU head coach Dave Bezold said. “The tournament in San Diego will be a big-time test because we have to play four games in five days, and the teams involved are going to be very good.”
It will mark NKU’s first trip to the west coast since the 1995-96 season, when the Norse played Cal State Bakersfield and Cal State-Los Angeles. NKU also visited Hawaii in 1990 for three games, and in 1988 the Norse played in a three-game tournament atChico State.
NKU has not met a Division I opponent in a regular-season game since Dec. 10, 2005, when the Norse traveled to Provo, Utah, and dropped a 65-46 decision at Brigham Young.
Last season, NKU posted a 23-7 record and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament. The Norse welcome back two starters and five letterwinners from that team, including senior point guard Ethan Faulkner (10.0 points, 4.3 assists per game), senior wing Eshaunte Jones (10.7 points per game) and senior forward Stretch Watson (6.3 points per game).
Junior guard Chad Jackson (9.4 points per game) and sophomore post player Jalen Billups, who shot 65.1 from field last season, are also back in 2012-13.
The remainder of NKU’s 2012-13 men’s basketball schedule is being finalized and will be released upon completion.