Hartford head men’s basketball coach John Gallagher has announced the Hawks’ complete schedule for the 2018-19 season. The Hawks will play five of their 15 non-conference games inside Reich Family Pavilion before opening the 16-game America East slate in January.
“We are very excited about our challenging non-conference schedule,” said Gallagher. “We intend to use this difficult slate to grow and prepare for the rigors of America East action. In addition, the national scope of this schedule will continue to advance the brand of Hartford basketball on a grand scale.”
For the second time in as many seasons, the Hawks will be making their debut in West Hartford when they host Central Connecticut on Tuesday, Nov. 6. It marks the fourth-straight year that Hartford opens up the new season against its neighboring rival.
Also highlighting the home slate, which includes matchups with Western New England (Nov. 24), Bowling Green (Dec. 1) and Marist (Dec. 29), is a Dec. 16 tilt with Oakland. Hartford will take on the Golden Bears for the first time in program history in the Second Annual Capital City’s Game of the Year, a doubleheader event that kicks off with the Hawks’ women’s basketball team hosting Michigan State.
Hartford will play some marquee road games early in the season, visiting Utah State (Nov. 9) and 2018 NIT Final Four squad Mississippi State (Nov. 11) as part of the MGM Resorts Main Event Tournament. After a midweek tilt at Quinnipiac on Nov. 15, the tournament continues with a pair of games in Las Vegas on Nov. 19 and Nov. 21.
In addition to the MGM Resorts Main Event Tournament, the road slate is highlighted by trips to a pair of ACC opponents in December. The Hawks travel to Durham, N.C., to face powerhouse Duke, which advanced to the Elite 8 a year ago, for the first time in program history (Dec. 5). Later in the month Hartford will head to Boston College (Dec. 31) for its non-conference finale, looking for its second win against the Eagles in three seasons.
Hartford will also travel to Sacred Heart (Nov. 27), Bryant (Dec. 12) and Wagner (Dec. 22) during the non-conference schedule.
After a bye weekend, America East play gets underway on Jan. 9, as the Hawks welcome defending league champion UMBC to West Hartford. Going 11-5 for a program-record .688 winning percentage in the America East last season, the third-seeded Hawks’ postseason run was halted by the top-seeded Retrievers ended in the semifinal round of the America East Championship.
Following tilts at Vermont (Jan. 12) and Maine (Jan. 16), Hartford returns to West Hartford to host UMass Lowell (Jan. 19) and New Hampshire (Jan. 23). The Hawks play three of their next four games on the road, taking on UAlbany (Jan. 26) and hosting Binghamton (Jan. 30) before concluding the first half of league play at Stony Brook (Feb. 2).
A trip to UMBC on Feb. 10 kicks off the second half of conference play, which continues with back-to-back home tilts against Maine (Feb. 13) and Vermont (Feb. 16). Following a three-game road trip that features stops at New Hampshire (Feb. 21), UMass Lowell (Feb. 23) and Binghamton (Feb. 27), the Hawks close out the regular season at home, taking on UAlbany (March 2) before hosting Stony Brook on Senior Night (March 5).
The top-eight teams in the standings will advance to the quarterfinals of the America East Championship, which will be played on campus sites on Saturday, March 9. The semifinals (Tuesday, March 12) and championship (Saturday, March 16) will also be held at the home of the highest seed, with the title game to be televised on ESPN2.
The Hawks return each of their four top scorers — John Carroll (15.2 ppg), Jason Dunne (14.8 ppg), J.R. Lynch (13.4 ppg) and Travis Weatherington (8.6 ppg) — from a team that posted one of the best single-season turnarounds in program history in 2017-18. Winning the most games (19) in the program’s Division I history, Hartford’s record-breaking season also featured the program’s second Division I postseason appearance (CIT).