NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Coast Guard men's basketball team will open the 2019-2020 season by competing in the ninth annual Armed Forces Classic at the Alaska Airlines Arena on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus on Friday Nov. 8, in partnership with the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson military facility.
The men's college basketball doubleheader will be a part of ESPN's Veterans Week initiative, and will pit Baylor against Washington (9:30 pm EST) and Division II Alaska Anchorage against Coast Guard (midnight EST).
This will be the second time that the Coast Guard men's basketball team takes part in the Armed Forces Classic as the Bears competed in the 2014 Armed Forces Classic at U.S. Coast Guard's Air Station Borinquen in Puerto Rico against Hampden-Sydney while Louisville and Minnesota played in the nightcap.
Before tipping off the season in Alaska, the Bears will play an exhibition game at Central Connecticut State University on Oct. 28th at 7:00.
"This is a great opportunity for our program to travel and be associated with The Armed Forces Classic and represent the service on the joint base and very near a Coast Guard station," said Coast Guard head coach Kevin Jaskiewicz."It will be a good for our cadets to have a chance to go out and see another part of the Coast Guard and get to play in front of a national audience."
Coast Guard returns four starters and 14 letter winners from last year's team which posted 16 wins, its most wins and first winning since the 2007'-08 season when the Bears won a school record 24 games and advanced to the Elite 8 for the only time in school history.
Seniors Packy Witkowski (17.0 ppg.), who has 1,041 career points along with Noah Baldez (13.6 ppg.), a second team All-conference selection, and Justin Kane (9.2 ppg./6.8 rpg.) will lead the way for the Bears this season.
Last season, Bears finished 16-8 overall and 7-7 in the (New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference) NEWMAC, the seven conference wins match the most NEWMAC wins in program history.
The inaugural Armed Forces Classic game on Nov. 9, 2012 saw unranked Connecticut upset then-No. 14 nationally-ranked Michigan State 66-62 from inside a C-5 transport airplane hangar on Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Previous Armed Forces Classic games have been played from Ramstein, Germany in 2012 (Connecticut vs. Michigan State), Pyongtaek, South Korea in 2013 (Georgetown vs. Oregon), Aguadilla, Puerto Rico in 2014 (Louisville vs. Minnesota), Honolulu, Hawaii in 2016 (Arizona vs. Michigan State & Indiana vs. Kansas), Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany in 2017 (Texas A&M vs. West Virginia) and Fort Bliss, Texas in 2018 (Texas vs. Arkansas).
The Coast Guard/Alaska Anchorage game will be televised on ESPNU as part of the network's America's Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans initiative honoring the men and women who are serving and who have served in the United States military, both at home and abroad.