Nov. 21-22, 2017 | Don Haskins Center (12,222) | El Paso, Texas
||North Dakota State “Bison”|
|2017-18 Record: 2-7||2017-18 Record: 5-6|
|Last Game: l. vs. Furman, 90-84, 11-17-17||Last Game: l. at Arizona, 83-53, 12-18-17|
|Head Coach: C.B. McGrath (1st Season)||Head Coach: David Richmond (4th Season)|
|Roster | Schedule-Results | Statistics| Website||Roster | Schedule-Results | Statistics | Website|
WILMINGTON, North Carolina – The UNCW men’s basketball team makes the long journey to El Paso this week to compete in the 56th Annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational, the oldest holiday hoops tournament in the nation.
The Seahawks, 2-7, will battle North Dakota State, 5-6, on Thursday, Dec. 21, at 7 p.m. ET in the opener of the two-day event at UTEP’s Don Haskins Center. Host UTEP, 4-6, takes on Howard, 2-11, in the nightcap at 9 p.m.
UNCW is coming off the short end of a 90-84 score to Southern Conference member Furman last Sunday at Trask Coliseum. The matinee loss extended UNCW’s winless string to six games, dating back to an 88-84 victory over Campbell on Nov. 18.
“Losing games is not easy,” said first-year UNCW skipper C.B. McGrath. “That’s not what I set out to do and not what these guys want to do. We put a game plan together and try to execute it, but we just have not gotten it done.
“We have to stay strong. We’re looking forward to going to El Paso and participating in the tournament. The people in El Paso take a lot of pride in the tournament – they take care of the teams and make it a good tournament experience. We want to play good basketball and get better every day.”
Despite the sluggish start, the Seahawks have featured several bright spots early in the new season. Senior playmaker Jordon Talley is enjoying an outstanding final year and junior forward Devontae Cacokcontinues to elevate his game.
Talley, from Richmond, Va., leads the team in assists with 6.6 dimes each contest and ranks second in the Colonial Athletic Association in helpers per game and assist/turnover ratio. He was named to the All-Tournament team of the Savannah Invitational in late November.
The versatile Cacok, a Preseason All-CAA selection and reigning CAA Defensive Player-of-the-Year, tops the club in scoring (19.1) and rebounding (12.4). A Riverdale, Ga., product, Cacok ranks third in the nation in rebounding and has more double-doubles than any other player in the conference.
Senior guard Paul Miller scored 12 points as NDSU fell to No. 18 Arizona on Monday night, 83-53, in Tuscon. The Bison of The Summit Leaguen are shooting 46.8 percent and averaging 70.1 points per game, with four players starting all 11 games.
NDSU is one of just 21 NCAA Division I teams with at least two active 1,000-point scorers. Miller and sophomore guard A.J. Jacobson both surpassed 1,000 career points in the first half of NDSU’s win over Denver last season.
The winner of Thursday’s early game faces the winner of the second contest between the host Miners and Bison.
“It’s a true tournament,” added McGrath. “We won’t have much time to prepare for the second game. We’ll talk about it and show some video. Our coaches will have an opportunity to scout them after we play.”
The tourney was renamed in 2009 to honor former UTEP head coach and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Don “The Bear” Haskins. Haskins coached at UTEP from 1961-99, winning 719 games and making 14 postseason appearances. He famously led the Miners to the 1966 national championship over Adolph Rupp’s heavily favored Kentucky Wildcats.
Live Seahawk Digital Network (SDN) coverage of the UNCW-NDSU contest begins at 6:45 p.m. ET with Mike Vaccaro, the “Voice of the Seahawks,” providing the call. Visit UNCWsports.com/SDN for live audio coverage. In addition, a radio broadcast of the game can be heard on “The Ticket” 95.9 FM and WKXB (99.9 FM-HD3).
For more information on the UNCW men’s basketball team, visit UNCWsports.com and click on the men’s basketball button. Additional information is also available on UNCW’s social media channels: Facebook (UNCW Men’s Basketball), Twitter (@UNCWmenshoops), Instagram (UNCWBasketball).
2017 WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational Pairings
Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017
7:00 p.m. ET – UNCW Vs. North Dakota State
9:00 p.m. ET – UTEP vs. Howard
Friday, Dec. 22, 2017
7:00 p.m. ET – Consolation Game
9:00 p.m. ET – Championship Game