Saint Martin’s University and its men’s basketball team are ready for its close-up.
For the first time since 2011, the Saints will be on television; their home game Thursday with Alaska Fairbanks will be live on ROOT Sports at 9 p.m. for the network's Great Northwest Athletic Conference game of the week.
Doors to Marcus Pavilion open at 8 p.m.
In addition to the game are pre-game festivities; the Worthington Center hosts an alumni gathering at 7 p.m., and an on-campus tailgate begins at 7:30 p.m.
To entice fans, SMU is offering tickets at a two-for-one general admission price; tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for seniors, non-SMU students and military. Fans attending the game are encouraged to wear white, said Katie Simons, the university’s sports information director.
It marks the first regionally televised game for SMU since Jan. 11, 2011 when the Saints defeated Western Oregon, 85-54, on then-FSN Northwest.
While the university has promoted the game for weeks, the game has created a big buzz on campus, and coach Michael Ostlund hopes that energy translates into a big showing as the Saints (6-9 overall, 3-4 GNAC) look to climb the GNAC standings with a victory over a Nanooks squad that’s tied for second at 5-2 in the GNAC with Western Washington.
“If people are going to come out to one game this year, this is probably it, he said. “When you’re going to be the featured conference game of the week, that raises it to another level.”
Coming off a 79-73 road win at Western Oregon last Saturday, where junior Ryan Rogers was one of four Saints to score in double figures with a game-high 19 points, Thursday is the Saints’ first home game while classes have been in session since their exhibition win over Evergreen on Nov. 5.
“Hopefully,” Ostlund said, “we’ll have a great student crowd.”
The Saints already have marquee wins this season over then No. 11-ranked Seattle Pacific, which sits atop the GNAC standings at 6-2, as well as road victories over Simon Fraser and Western Oregon.
The game is the third of an eight-game agreement with the GNAC and ROOT Sports to broadcast six men’s games and two women’s games. Other televised GNAC include: Alaska Anchorage men at Western Washington on Feb. 1, Northwest Nazarene men at Western Oregon on Feb. 8, Central Washington men at Western Washington on Feb. 22, Simon Fraser men at Western Oregon on Feb. 26 and Simon Fraser women at Western Washington on March 1.
ROOT Sports is seen in 3.4 million homes across five Northwestern states.