By Olivia Mittleman
On Friday, Nov. 3, the Sacred Heart University men’s basketball team participated in a charity exhibition game at Manhattan College. All proceeds from the game will benefit the American Cross hurricane relief efforts in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.
According to Sacred Heart Athletic Communications, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA,) has granted a waiver to schools to play an extra exhibition game, provided that the proceeds of the game are donated to hurricane relief efforts.
“It’s kind of a win-win. You get an extra exhibition game, and raise money for a very good cause,” said head coach, Anthony Latina.
Sacred Heart senior forward, Joseph Lopez, is from Miami, Florida.
“A lot of people in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba, all got hit by Irma and Maria, so it’s going to benefit them, and benefit us,” said Lopez.
Though the game does not count towards either team’s record, senior guard, Charles Tucker Jr, said it allowed Sacred Heart to further integrate freshmen and newcomers to the team.
Tucker also said the starting five have changed since last season. He hoped the game would help with the camaraderie and synergy of the team.
Latina said the team’s participation in the charity game directly reflects the team culture, as well as, the University’s mission.
“Whenever we can help people in the community and further that mission, we feel like we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing,” said Latina.
Latina also said the game contributes to the player’s education.
“To come from a place of humility where you can help others and make things better, we encourage that,” said Latina. “We value our team culture a great deal.”
Latina and the basketball team go by four core values.
“One of them is selfless,” said Lopez. “We’re helping everybody out, if it’s off the court or on the court.”
“We value our team culture a great deal,” said Latina. “We think living our core values and upholding our standards are what makes us special, and hopefully it’s what makes us a champion.”
Sacred Heart defeated Manhattan 81-71. According to Sacred Heart Athletic Communications, the team had four players to score in double figures.
Sean Hohen led the team with 19 points and six rebounds while Zach Radz led all players with 10 rebounds off the bench.
While the exact amount of money raised was not reported Latina hoped it would be significant. “What ever number I have in my head, I hope we double it,” said Latina.
On Nov. 10 Sacred Heart will open their season at home for the first since 2004. The team will face out-of-conference opponent Holy Cross.
Latina said the charity game was an opportunity to get ready for the game against Holy Cross.
“This game actually goes down on the record,” said Tucker. “There is a much higher priority on preparing for this game and making sure that we take care of as many things as we can control in terms of the preparation process.”
Last season Holy Cross defeated Sacred Heart.
“A lot of the guys who have returned are more aware of what they have and what their game plan is against us,” said Lopez. “I think it’s going to give us an opportunity to adjust to what happened and a better chance of winning.”
Though the team hasn’t officially begun their season yet, they’re already focused on long term goals.
“Long term, the goal is just to win, keep growing as a team,” said Tucker. “As long as we continue to work hard and not cheat the process the conference could be ours.”