EL PASO, Texas – The 55th Annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational concluded on Thursday, Dec. 22 with Akron defeating Maryland Eastern Shore in the Championship Game 76-60, while UC Irvine picked up a victory in the Consolation Game 62-57 over UTEP in the Don Haskins Center.
This marks the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational Title for the Zips and moves them to 10-3 on the year.
Akron’s Atino Jackson was awarded the Barry Kobren Most Valuable Player Award after he tallied 13 points, six assists and only one turnover in 32 minutes of play against the Hawks of Maryland Eastern Shore. Dante Caldwell of Maryland Eastern Shore was awarded the Don Haskins Award, which is presented to the player who best exemplifies the characteristics most valued by Coach Haskins.
Isaiah Johnson (Akron)
Bakari Copeland (Maryland Eastern Shore)
Jaron Martin (UC Irvine)
Dominic Artis (UTEP)
Don Haskins Award
Dante Caldwell (Maryland Eastern Shore)
Barry Kobren Most Valuable Player Award
Game One Recap
Senior guard Jaron Martin scored 22 points to lead UC Irvine over UTEP, 62-57, in the consolation game of the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational at El Paso, Texas, Thursday night.
Martin was 7-of-11 from the field, including 6-of-10 from the three-point line. He hit four triples in the span of two minutes early in the second half and his fourth trey put the Anteaters up 44-38 with 15:36 left, a lead that UCI would never relinquish. Martin scored 17 of his points in the second half.
It was Martin’s third consecutive 20-point game and his fifth of the season as he has averaged 25.0 points in the last three contests. Martin, who was named to the all-tournament team, has 146 career threes to rank ninth in UCI history, six behind No. 8 Daman Starring.
Senior center Ioannis Dimakopoulos added 12 points and tied his career high with 11 rebounds while freshman guard Evan Leonard recorded a career-best 11 points, hitting 8-of-8 free throws. Sophomore forward Jonathan Galloway pulled down nine rebounds and sophomore Brandon Smith tied his career high with seven boards while redshirt freshman guard Max Hazzard registered a career-best six assists.
This marked the eighth consecutive loss for the UTEP Miners, but came out of it feeling a lot more optimistic heading into the holiday break.
The Miners got after it on the defensive end, implementing a zone that frustrated the Anteaters into 36 percent shooting. And for the second straight game, UTEP went down to the wire with UCI, only to come up just a bit short.
Paul Thomas was 4-for-4 from the field and 5-for-5 from the line in Wednesday’s tournament opener against Maryland Eastern Shore. Willms averaged 12.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in the tournament, making 11-of-17 shots.
Game Two Recap
Bolstered by a strong defensive effort, strong 3-point shooting and solid depth, the Akron Zips knocked off Maryland Eastern Shore, 76-60, in the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational championship game on Thursday night at the Don Haskins Center.
The Zips held the Hawks to just 39 percent shooting, hit 10 3-pointers and had eight players score on the night. Also, Akron outscored Maryland Eastern Shore 42-30 in the second half.
Akron is now 10-3 on the season, while Maryland Eastern Shore is 2-12.
The Zips, who had 19 assists as a team, had five players score in double figures. Post Isaiah Johnson led the way with 15 points, guards Antino Jackson and Jimond Ivey chipped in with 13 points, forward Kwan Cheatham had 10 points and Tavian Dunn-Martin had 10 points. Jackson added six assists and had just one turnover in 32 minutes.
(recaps courtesy of UC Irvine and UTEP media relations and El Paso Times)