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Binghamton native Cline returns "home" to face Orange

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -

As the non-conference basketball college basketball schedules wind down, Syracuse hosting Eastern Michigan may seem like an arbitrary contest.  But, it's much more than just another non-conference contest for Eastern Michigan University Assistant Coach Matt Cline.

Cline, a 2006 Seton Catholic Central graduate, is returning to Upstate New York and is expecting 30 friends and family to make the trip to the Carrier Dome Wednesday night.  The Eagles practiced at the Carrier Dome Tuesday night and he says that was the first time he can remember being in the Carrier Dome with the basketball floor set up.  His only previous trip was when he was in high school and the Saints played in the Football Kickoff Classic.  Growing up seeing the success of the Orange program under Jim Boeheim, getting to coach opposite the Hall of Famer and so close to home is a moment he'll cherish.

"Growing up an hour away from Syracuse, in Binghamton, it's a special opportunity to come home essentially, and coach in front of family and friends, and coach against Coach Boeheim, who I grew up watching and watching Syracuse with those great teams," Cline said.  "To be able to coach [Wednesday night] against Syracuse is really special.  [Tuesday night] when we went over to the Carrier Dome to practice, walking in there I had to take a moment to appreciate the opportunity that I had and being able to be in the situation, being able to coach against Syracuse is something I will always appreciate." 

The Eagles and the Orange tip off at 7:00.  Fox 40 will catch up with Cline after the game to see if the experience lived up to his expectations.