RICHMOND – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team will take a summer trip to Australia in August, EKU head coach Jeff Neubauer announced Wednesday.
The Colonels will depart on August 5 and return on August 16. EKU will play four games in four cities – Sydney, Wollongong, Brisbane and Cairns.
“This is going to be a great experience for our guys,” Neubauer said. “On the basketball side, this will be a challenge. The teams we are going to face play at a very high level. This is also going to be a great opportunity for our players to see another part of the world.”
Eastern will play the Sydney Kings on August 8 and the Wollongong Hawks on the 10th. The Colonels will face the Suncoast Clippers in Brisbane on the 11th. The playing schedule concludes on the 14th against the Cairns Taipans.
Game times will be announced at a later date.
The Kings, Hawks and Taipans are professional teams playing in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL). Wollongong went 13-15 during the 2013-14 season that ended in March. Sydney and Cairns both finished 12-16.
The Clippers play in the Queensland Basketball League (QBL). Their season started in May and the team is currently tied for eighth in the 13-team league with a 5-5 record.
NCAA rules allow teams a maximum of 10 days of practice before leaving for a foreign trip.
EKU nearly upset No. 2 seed Kansas in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, leading the Jayhawks with 8:55 left in the game and trailing by only three with 3:39 to go.
Before giving Kansas all it could handle in the NCAA Tournament, the Colonels marched through the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. Eastern won three games in three days and trailed for only 41 seconds during the entire tourney.
EKU finished the season with a 24-10 record, the second most wins in program history. With a school record 25 victories in 2012-13, the Colonels have 49 wins the last two years combined.
Eastern finished second in the nation in turnover margin, fifth in the nation in three-point field goals per game and sixth in steals. Eastern Kentucky has now led the OVC in three-pointers five of the last six years.