Baylor basketball is returning to Fort Hood on Saturday to face Randall University at Abrams Physical Fitness Center.

“This is the third year in a row,” Col. Hank Perry said at Wednesday morning’s press conference, “I can’t say enough how excited we are for Baylor bring an NCAA basketball game here to the installation.”

Doors will open at 5 p.m. with tipoff scheduled for 6 p.m.

The event is open to all soldiers, their families and retired military.

The game will also air live on Fox Sports Southwest.

Baylor played the inaugural game versus NCAA Division III Hardin-Simmons in 2015 before hosting Division I Jackson State last December.

“I told Col. Perry now,” Baylor head coach Scott Drew said, “we haven’t lost down here, so the pressure is on him, and we’re excited for the great night.

“Normally, you’re playing at home in front of your own fans and family,” he added. “This is an opportunity where it’s bigger picture, and it’s the holidays where you give thanks, and we’re appreciative for what everybody does — the sacrifices they make.”

“It’s just phenomenal when we see partnerships like this around the communities,” Perry said.

With many soldiers having just returned from deployment and preparing for upcoming block leave, the game allows for family time without having to travel far.

“We have a lot to be thankful for in this time of the year,” Perry said, “and the fact that we do have many soldiers who just returned, and right now we’ve got soldiers deployed around the world, so we’re always keeping them in our thoughts and prayers, but to be able to provide this opportunity here at the installation is just something else.”

As for Baylor, the players gain so a lot out of the opportunity to play on post.

“The great thing is that college is about education,” Drew said, “and this is part of education.

“We’re grateful for all the great privileges we’re able to have in the United States because of our military.”

The Bears keep coming back because of the joy the players have and the opportunity to give back to those who serve.

“We’ve had great experiences coming here in years past,” Drew said, “and I know our players really enjoy signing autographs afterwards and be able to say, ‘Thank you.’”

fcardenas@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7562

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