UConn, Providence to play charity exhibition hoops game

When hurricane season caused flooding, wind damage, electricity outages and the need for basic daily supplies, no one was thinking about college basketball. But now, as the recovery continues, NCAA teams are finding charitable methods to assist in the process.

Connecticut and Providence, long time New England rivals who first played in 1928, announced Tuesday that the Huskies and Friars will play an exhibition game Oct. 25 at Mohegan Sun Arena. Tickets for the 7 p.m. game are available for $10, $25 and $50 via Ticketmaster.

The NCAA granted a waiver allowing the game on Tuesday. Process from ticket sales will go to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund to continue their work for Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Providence College coach Ed Cooley acted quickly when he heard the NCAA had decided to allow these games as long as they were designed to benefit victims.

“As soon as I reached out to Kevin [Ollie], he was excited to play the game and have his program involved in this event,” Colley told The Providence Journal Tuesday. “We hope that the great fan bases from both schools come together and support this cause.”

The series ended when the Big East Conference split after the 2012-13 season. UConn won the last time the two time played, taking a 63-59 victory in Storrs on March 9, 2013. UConn leads the all-time series 44-28.

UConn has renewed rivalries with Syracuse, Georgetown and Villanova with regular season games but nothing had worked with Providence until this opportunity arose. UConn has exhibitions against Merrimack (Oct. 30) and Queens College (Nov. 5) before the regular-season opener Nov. 10 against Colgate.

The NCAA has granted a blanket waiver for Div. I teams to meet in a scrimmage, allowing them to be open to public and for fans to be charged admissions.

Marquette and Wisconsin-Milwaukee have also used the opportunity to renew their intracity rivalry.The Golden Eagles and the Panthers haven’t met since 2011. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports their exhibition game will be played Sunday at the Al McGuire Center on Marquette’s campus.

“Many of us have a personal connection to someone directly impacted by the recent hurricanes and being able to partner with the American Red Cross allows us to help people like Marquette legend Butch Lee, who lives in his native Puerto Rico,” Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said in a statement.

Kansas and Missouri who have not played since 2012 when the Tigers left the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference the next season, are playing an exhibition on Sunday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

The long-standing rivalry between Missouri and the Jayhawks was once known as The Border War. This exhibition game will be known as The Showdown For Relief. Tickets for that game were sold out within nine minutes of going on sale Tuesday afternoon. Tickets for Missouri students were sold out in two minutes.

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