Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational set for tip-off


The Sun Bowl host the 57th Annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational, Friday and Saturday, December 21-22 at the Don Haskins Center.

The tournament opens with East Tennessee State facing Wyoming at 5 p.m. (MT) followed by a matchup between Norfolk State and UTEP at 7 p.m. (MT).


“We are excited to continue all the Sun Bowl festivities with our annual basketball tournament,” said Bernie Olivas, Executive Director of the Sun Bowl Association.  “It’s always great to host teams from around the country and we hope the community continues to treat the visiting teams with the great hospitality El Paso is known for.”

ETSU (8-4) is looking to recover after a loss against Illinois, falling 73-55, Dec 15. Junior Tray Boyd leads the team in scoring (12.0 ppg) while Junior Jeromy Rodriguez is the team’s top rebounder (11.9 rpg). The Buccaneers bring in 7-footer Lucas N’Guessan, an Oklahoma State transfer who made his first appearance against Illinois.


Wyoming (3-7) suffered an overtime loss to the Denver Pioneers in Laramie 90-87. Senior Justin James is the leading scorer (24.5 ppg) and rebounder (9.8 rpg). Both Hunter Thompson (RFr.) and Jake Hendricks (Jr.) are coming off a career-high game in points scored 15 and 27 respectively.


Norfolk State (4-8) comes in after an 80-49 loss to last year’s Final Four Cinderella story Loyola-Chicago. Redshirt Junior Nic Thomas is the top scorer (14.9 ppg) and Redshirt Senior Jordan Butler leads in rebounds (5.4 rpg). The Spartans are 0-5 on the road and are in the midst of a three-game losing streak.


UTEP (4-5) won their last game against UC Riverside at home 68-56. Sophomore Evan Gilyard leads in scoring (18 ppg) while Freshman Efe Odigie is the leading rebounder (9.0 rpg). Odigie put up 24 points against the Highlanders.


The Miners fell to North Dakota State in last year’s Championship game 63-51.


Friday, Dec. 21

5 p.m. (MT) – ETSU vs. Wyoming

7 p.m. (MT) – Norfolk State vs. UTEP


Saturday, Dec. 22

5 p.m. (MT) – Consolation Game

7 p.m. (MT) – Championship Game


In 2009, the tournament was renamed to honor former UTEP head coach and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Don Haskins. “The Bear” coached at UTEP from 1961 to 1999, winning 719 games and making 14 postseason appearances. Haskins famously led the Miners to victory in the 1966 National Championship game over Adolph Rupp and the heavily favored Kentucky Wildcats.

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