Saint Martin's men ready for hoops closeup tonight

SPOTLIGHT: FSN to televise when Western Oregon comes calling at 7 p.m.

January 11, 2011 

Blake Poole and Saint Martin's will take a larger stage Tuesday at 7 p.m. when the Saints square off against Western Oregon on regional cable. "The Northwest attention for us is huge," said SMU sports information director Nykki Schele.

TONY OVERMAN — The Olympian

Saint Martin’s University isn’t only hoping for a win against Western Oregon in tonight’s men’s basketball game.

The Saints are also hoping for a big, loud crowd.

A raucous victory in Marcus Pavilion could serve as an image builder when the game is televised by FSN Northwest at 7 p.m.

“We’re hoping to be pretty full,” said Nykki Schele, SMU’s sports information director. “We’ve R.S.V.P.’d most of the reserved section. There’s also an alumni event.”

With school back in session, Schele is anticipating a large student turnout. On Sunday, some students pitched six tents outside of the Pavilion, and have been camping the past two nights.

In honor of coach Keith Cooper, they’re calling the camp “Cooper’s Town.” It’s SMU’s version of “Krzyzewskiville,” where Duke students camp the night before a home game to ensure front-row seats.

“It’s the students’ idea,” Schele said. “They’re running with it. It’s fun.”

To entice fans, SMU is offering tickets at two-for-one prices for tonight’s game. Adult tickets are $6, military and seniors are $4.

Tonight’s televised game is part of a one-season agreement between FSN Northwest and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference to televise nine games, including the men’s conference title game March 4.

“The Northwest attention for us is huge,” Schele said.

During FSN’s telecast of the Washington Huskies men’s game last week, Saint Martin’s upcoming game was mentioned.

“They talked about Blake Poole and about the team,” Schele said. “Little plugs like that are huge for us. It’s very exciting for us.”

The doors will open at 6 p.m.

“I think we have one of the best facilities in the conference,” Schele said. “This is our chance to show it off.”

Other televised GNAC games scheduled by FSN Northwest include Simon Fraser at Northwest Nazarene on Jan. 19; Western Washington at Seattle Pacific on Jan. 26; Seattle Pacific at Central Washington on Feb. 9; Central Washington at Western Washington on Feb. 16; and Alaska Fairbanks at Alaska Anchorage on Feb. 23. The Seattle Pacific women’s game at Western Washington will be televised on Feb. 2.

FSN Northwest telecasts to 3.4 million homes across five states.

“This is good for Saint Martin’s basketball,” Cooper said. “This is great for the university.”

Gail Wood: 360-754-5443 gwood@theolympian.com

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