EL PASO, Texas – The 55th Annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational started on Wednesday, Dec. 21 with Akron defeating the defending champion, UC Irvine 88-80 in game one of the day and Maryland Eastern Shore picking up a win over UTEP in game two 71-66
Akron faces Maryland Eastern Shore in the championship game at 7 p.m. (MT), after UTEP takes on UC Irvine in the consolation game at 5 p.m.
Game One Recap
The Akron Zips advanced to the Don Haskins Sun Bowl Championship Game after defeating UC Irvine 88-80 on Wednesday evening at the Don Haskins Center. In addition, the win gave 13th-year head coach Keith Dambrot his 287 career win at Akron, just one win away from tying the program’s all-time win record.
Junior guard Antino Jackson, a Houston, Texas native, led all-scorers with 23 points, and three more Zips scored in double figures. Sophomore guard Josh Williams recorded 18 points, while senior center Isaiah Johnson and junior guard Noah Robotham contributed 12 and 11 points, respectively.
For UC Irvine Freshman Brad Greene registered career highs of 10 points and nine rebounds, and freshman Eyassu Worku also scored 10 points. Freshman Tommy Rutherford added eight boards in the first meeting between the Big West Conference and Mid-American Conference schools.
Game Two Recap
Bakari Copeland scored a career-high 27 points, doing his damage inside and out as Maryland-Eastern Shore knocked off UTEP, 71-66, on day one of the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational on Wednesday in the Haskins Center.
The Miners (2-8) lost their seventh straight and will meet UC Irvine (5-9) in the tournament consolation game on Thursday at 5 p.m.
UTEP outshot UMES (2-11) 41.8 percent to 37.5 percent, and outrebounded the Hawks 44-31. But the Miners couldn’t overcome 3-for-17 shooting from three-point territory, and UTEP finished with 14 turnovers to UMES’ six.
Copeland made 7-of-13 shots, 4-of-6 three pointers and 9-of-11 free throws while adding seven rebounds for UMES, which won its first road game of the season. UTEP has lost five in a row at home.
Dontae Caldwell added 13 points for the Hawks, and Ryan Andino scored all 11 of his points in the second half.
(recaps courtesy of Akron, UC Irvine and UTEP media relations)