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Warriors seek to fill holiday seats with free tickets
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California State University, Stanislaus students may be on winter break, but the University’s basketball teams don’t get a Christmas vacation.

This year, CSU Stanislaus is looking to keep Fitzpatrick Arena full even through the holidays – with a little help from the Turlock community.

“We’re just trying to get the community to come out and support,” CSU Stanislaus Director of Athletics Mike Matoso said.

Rather than have the Warriors play before a sea of empty seats, the university has decided to try something new – offering a series of community-focused game nights, with free seats for some Turlockers.

On Dec. 29, all veterans and active military personnel will receive four free tickets for a CSU Stanislaus basketball doubleheader. The Cal State Stanislaus women will take on Holy Names at 5 p.m., while the men will face Chico State at 7 p.m.

Children in Turlock’s youth recreation programs will get a chance to catch a free game on Jan. 4, when the men take on San Francisco State at 7:30 p.m., with the women's contest starting at 5:30 p.m. Passes are available through the city recreation department.

And on Jan. 5, elementary school children who are excelling in class will get to see the Cal State Stanislaus women take on Sonoma State at 5:30 p.m., with the men’s team playing at 7:30 p.m. Coupons are being distributed through Turlock and Modesto school districts.

For those who didn’t get free passes, but are still interested in attending, the games are open to anyone. Tickets are available for $10 or less for each doubleheader, and are a good way to pass the time during Christmas break, Matoso said.

“I know as a parent, I’m always looking for things to do around the holidays with the kids,” Matoso said.

The Warriors compete in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, a top-tier NCAA Division II conference, featuring 11 CSU campuses and one University of California campus. CSU Stanislaus’ women’s team may be having a bit of a rough year – with a record of 0-8, the team is still seeking its first win – but the men are on a three-game winning streak, 4-3 overall.

Children and parents alike will be impressed with the quality of play, Matoso said.

“We’re trying to get the word out – it’s just as good as a mid-major Division I game,” Matoso said.

And it’s not just the game that will entertain children, it’s the whole experience. With a bounce house, improved concession options, and exciting player introductions featuring a fog machine, attending a Warriors basketball tilt is an experience to remember.

“Everyone that’s gone has been having a really good time,” Matoso said. “It’s a different experience inside the arena.”

Even if Turlockers can’t make it out during the coming weeks, there’s still time in the season. Home basketball games run through Feb. 23