On Wednesday, the University of North Georgia’s basketball program will have both its games against Columbus State shown on ESPN3, starting at 5:30 p.m. in Dahlonega. ESPN3 is available online at WatchESPN.com and on the WatchESPN app on smartphones.
It will also be Operation Nighthawks of Honor Night, which commemorates 12 North Georgia alumni killed during or associated with the Korean War. A ceremony honoring these service members will be held at halftime of the women’s game.
The women's game will start at 5:30 p.m. and the men's game at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
North Georgia is promoting a “Blue Out,” encouraging students and fans to wear blue for the doubleheader. Students, faculty and staff from all campuses will receive free admission with a North Georgia ID card, and 1,000 free shirts will be provided by the Dahlonega Campus Student Government Association (SGA).
“There is no better platform to showcase our award-winning Operation Nighthawks of Honor initiative than in front of a national audience as part of the NCAA Division II Showcase,” Nighthawks athletics director Lindsay Reeves said. “Honoring fallen soldiers who have a connection to UNG is one of our department’s most noble endeavors, and we look forward to doing it at such a prominent event. The collaboration between our department, Student Affairs, the Corps of Cadets and the Student Government Association has generated a great deal of excitement for the night.”
North Georgia women’s basketball coach Buffie Burson, whose team won the PBC regular season and tournament titles and advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2018, is looking forward to the national exposure for her team. Burson won her 500th game as head coach at UNG on Dec. 17 against Flagler College.
Burson said North Georgia alumni, including some of her former players, are eager to watch the game online. Burson and men’s basketball head coach Chris Faulkner hope to fill the Convocation Center that night, as well.
“I hope we get a lot of support,” Faulkner said. “I want everybody in Dahlonega to come out and watch the games.”
In March 2016, North Georgia’s baseball and softball games were broadcast on ESPN3 as part of Make-A-Wish Day. The women’s soccer team had its Oct. 16 matchup with Columbus State broadcast on Twitter and Facebook Live. The pair of basketball games on ESPN3 will make North Georgia the first Division II school to have five of its teams host nationally-televised matchups.
“We’re thrilled to be able to do that,” Burson said. “It’s big for recruiting, but it’s also big for the athletic department and the university.”
Compiled by Bill Murphy. This story has been updated from its original version.