SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- An exhibition game with perennial NCAA Division I power Duke, the annual "Bank of Bolivar Highway 13 Catfight" with Southwest Baptist and a December trip to south Florida are among the highlights on the 2013-14 basketball schedule of the defending NCAA Division II national champion Drury Panthers released on Wednesday.
By virtue of winning the D-II national title in Atlanta on April 7, the Panthers earned an invitation to visit Duke and play an exhibition game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, a tradition started by coach Mike Krzyzewski in the mid-2000s. Drury will take on Duke on Saturday, November 2 in Durham, NC. The Blue Devils were 30-6 last season, including 16-0 at Cameron.
"We feel extremely honored to have the opportunity to kick off our season at Duke in one of the great historic venues in college basketball and with one of the true legends of the game on the other bench in Mike Krzyzewski," said Drury coach Steve Hesser, now entering his 10th year at the helm of the Panthers.
"It will certainly give us an extreme early preview of the intensity we expect to see against all of our opponents this season. As the defending national champions. we are certainly going to get everybody's best shot."
The Panthers will officially open their 2013-14 campaign the following Friday (November 8) when they take on Webster University at the O'Reilly Family Event Center, then will make the short trip to Bolivar the following Tuesday (November 12) for their annual "Bank of Bolivar Highway 13 Catfight" showdown with the Southwest Baptist Bearcats.
Other non-conference highlights for the Panthers include the return of the Comfort Inn Thanksgiving Classic on November 29-30 with games against Northwest Missouri State and Cameron. The Friday game will once again feature the Second Annual "Free Friday" promotion, with all fans admitted for free and holiday-related giveaways and drawings of several prizes throughout the game.
Drury will open Great Lakes Valley Conference play - also as the league's defending champion - when the Panthers entertain rival Missouri Science and Technology on December 5th as part of the annual "Drury Faculty/Staff Appreciation Night" ceremonies.
After completing final exams, the Panthers will then journey to south Florida to take on Livingstone (Wednesday, December 18) and host Nova Southeastern (Thursday, December 19) in Fort Lauderdale.
Drury will jump back into GLVC play from there, hosting Saint Joseph's (Friday, January 3) and Indianapolis (Sunday, January 5).
Other home dates pit the Panthers in league action against Rockhurst on Thursday, January 16 and William Jewell (Saturday, January 18, Great Southern "Throwback Day"); versus Missouri-St. Louis on Thursday, January 23 and Maryville on Saturday, January 25 ("Overflow The O'"); and vs. Wisconsin-Parkside on Thursday, February 13 ("Pink Zone For Breast Cancer Awareness") and Lewis on Saturday, February 15 (Homecoming/Senior Day).
The DU road schedule in GLVC play includes a tough swing through Bellarmine (Louisville, Ky.) and Southern Indiana (Evansville) on January 9 and January 11, and a pair of new GLVC foes in early February, with trips to league newcomer Truman State in Kirksville on February 1 and second-year GLVC member McKendree in Lebanon, Ill., on February 6.
Drury, which won the GLVC Championship post-season tourney last March after claiming the West regular season title with a 16-2 mark, returns five of its top eight players from last year's squad that finished 31-4 overall and set a school record by winning its final 23 games.
Season tickets start at just $105. For more information, please call the O'Reilly Center Box Office at (417) 873-6389.
2013-14 DRURY PANTHERS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
(All Times TBD)
November 2 - at Duke University (exhibition) November 8 - Webster November 12 - at Southwest Baptist November 22 - Southwestern College November 29 - vs. Northwest Missouri State (Comfort Inn Thanksgiving Classic) November 30 - vs. Cameron (Comfort Inn Thanksgiving Classic) December 5 - vs. Missouri Science and Technology December 7 - vs. Central Christian December 18 - vs. Livingstone in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. December 19 - at Nova Southeastern January 3 - vs. Saint Joseph's January 5 - vs. Indianapolis January 9 - at Bellarmine January 11 - at Southern Indiana January 16 - Rockhurst January 18 - William Jewell January 23 - Missouri-St. Louis January 25 - Maryville January 30 - at Quincy February 1 - at Truman State February 6 - at McKendree February 8 - at Illinois-Springfield February 13 - vs. Wisconsin-Parkside February 15 - vs. Lewis February 20 - at William Jewell February 22 - at Rockhurst February 27 - at Missouri Science and Technology
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