Nebraska-Mississippi State, Creighton-UNO men’s basketball matchups part of disaster aid

Creighton and UNO will join forces for an exhibition game to raise money for hurricane relief efforts.

The exhibition will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 26 at CenturyLink Center.

The NCAA said at least two dozen Division I programs are taking advantage of a waiver that allows teams to play an extra exhibition game if the proceeds go to disaster relief.

NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn told the Associated Press via email that the governing body is aware of 24 programs that have elected to take part in one of the games. Many of the games are benefiting people affected by recent hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria, while at least one is helping people affected by the California wildfires and the Las Vegas mass shooting.

Nebraska is also playing an exhibition — at Mississippi State — to raise money Sunday.

UNO coach Derrin Hansen said Greg McDermott called him last week to see if the Mavericks were interested in the scrimmage. Hansen said he was as long as everything checked out from a compliance standpoint. UNO has no exhibition game but already has scheduled two other closed scrimmages.

“It does count as one of our practice days, which is fine,” Hansen said. “So we actually took today off to break up the week. For the cause that it’s helping and for the things that I think it will do locally for basketball, I think it’s a win-win for a lot of reasons.”

Tickets will go on sale Oct. 20, at 10 a.m. Reserved seats will cost $10 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster or at the ticket offices at the CenturyLink Center and Ryan Athletic Center.

“Coach Hansen and I, as well as our teams and administrations, are excited about having the opportunity to benefit those in need in Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands that lost so much from the recent hurricanes,” McDermott said. “We hope the Omaha community will come together as one to support this worthy cause.”

Creighton and UNO have not played in men’s basketball since an exhibition game in 2009. The last regular-season meeting came in 1995. The Jays are 40-3 vs. UNO.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Hansen said. “I think it’s good for both parties. From my standpoint, I’ll see my team in live action a lot sooner than I thought I would. And that might help us prepare for the other two scrimmages that we have.”

The NU-Mississippi State game is at 1 p.m. Sunday. Admission will be free and the American Red Cross will be collecting monetary donations to benefit Hurricane Irma relief efforts.

“Hurricane Irma was a devastating storm which affected many people in the Southeast and in the Caribbean,” coach Tim Miles said in a press release. “Our goal is that we can raise a lot of money for those who need it and have a great time competing against Coach (Ben) Howland and his team. It is a great platform for our two programs to raise awareness and help people in need. We look forward to Sunday afternoon and it should be an exciting game.”

The Huskers and Bulldogs have met once in basketball, a three-point victory for MSU in 1995. Mississippi State went 16-16 last season, its second under Howland, and returns four starters.

“This is a great opportunity to help so many people in need who were affected by the hurricane,” Howland said in a press release. “Hurricane Irma was devastating, and our hearts and prayers have been with everyone as they have dealt with horrific and tragic loss. This is a chance for us to do our part in helping those in need.

“I so appreciated Nebraska and Coach Miles for their incredible willingness to support this effort. It’s going to be a fun day for two Power (Five) teams to play an exhibition game and get a head start on the season.”

Other high-profile teams are joining in, too. Kansas and Missouri, for example, will play Sunday in Kansas City’s Sprint Center.

Osburn said she expects about 15 more games to be scheduled in the coming weeks. She says the NCAA approves the games on a case-by-case basis.

Material from the Associated Press was also used in this report.

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