The Regis College men’s basketball team will make history when it takes the court for its season opener on Tuesday, Nov. 9.

Regis #5 Wilkins with the ball during a recent gameIt will be the first time ever the Pride will face off against a Division I opponent in the regular season. Holy Cross, members of the Patriot League, will host Regis in Worcester for a 7 p.m. tip off.

“This is a great opportunity for the team,” said Zakaria Latifi, a junior forward. “It’ll be great to see how the new guys respond to playing at the college level and against a Division I team.”

This will also be the first time the team has played an official game since the Great Northeast Athletic Conference tournament in February 2020. Regis College did not participate in competition last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full season preview on GoRegisPride.com

This year’s Pride team boasts 10 first-year players and sophomores, who are also getting their first taste of college ball, and five upperclassmen. While the team may not have a lot of experience, the talent and chemistry is definitely there, said Cameron Wilkins.

“We are young but we have a lot of talent across the board,” Wilkins, a junior guard said. “And we all mold really well together.”

Regis head coach Nate Hager, now in his 15th year with the team, explained that out-of-region tournaments are traditionally the cornerstone of early season play. But with the on-going pandemic posing potential travel challenges, he decided to explore other opportunities.

“We wanted to do something special that the guys will remember,” Hager said. “Holy Cross is a legendary program, a Catholic University, and this was just a good fit for us.”

The Crusaders’ storied history includes 11 NCAA Tournament appearances and a national championship in 1947. They are also six-time Patriot League champions, winning the title most recently in 2016.

At the same time, Holy Cross is no stranger to being on the losing end against a Division III opponent. Holy Cross has in fact fallen twice to Division III squads; Williams in 2003 and UMass Boston in 2019. But Hager said this is a different Crusaders team than the one from a couple years ago.

“They are loaded; (head coach) Brett Nelson has done a tremendous job building that roster up,” Hager said.

Tickets are available online at GoHolyCross.com or by calling 1.844.GOCROSS (1.844.462.7677). The contest is scheduled to be shown on the streaming service ESPN+.