EL PASO, Texas – Day one of the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational is complete with UC-Irvine defeating Sam Houston State 63-53 in game one and Norfolk State defeating UTEP 85-76 in game two at the Don Haskins Center on Monday, Dec. 21.
UC-Irvine faces Norfolk State in the Championship at 7 p.m. (MT) and the consolation game is set for a 5 p.m. (MT) tip-off in the Don Haskins Center.
UC-Irvine Bounces Back in Second Half to Defeat Sam Houston State 63-53
The UC-Irvine Anteaters (9-4) trailed 30-25 heading into the locker room but outscored SHSU (5-6) by 15 points in the second half to win game one of the tournament 63-53. UCI guard Luke Nelson led his team with 16 points on 5-of-12 shooting while hitting two treys in the contest. Fellow Anteater forward Mike Best shot 70-percent from the field and added 14 points in 24 minutes of play.
UCI took an early 6-2 lead but lost the lead for the first time when Bearkat forward Torry Butler made a layup with 12:46 left in the first half. SHSU went up by as many as eight with 5:09 on the clock as Butler hit a nice jumper.
The 29-percent shooting by UCI helped the Bearkats take a 30-25 lead at halftime.
UCI’s Nelson started the second half with a three pointer as his team used a 12-6 point run to take a 37-36 lead with 15:14 left in the game. The Anteaters went up by 10 when Alex Young hit a jumper with 5:49 left to play. UCI finished the second half shooting 55.6 percent in the second half and took advantage of turnover scoring 16 points off of turnovers.
UC-Irvine, who was a 2015 NCAA Tournament participant, takes on Norfolk State in the Championship Game of the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational on Tuesday at 7 p.m. (MT) in the Don Haskins Center.
UTEP Falls to Norfolk State in High Scoring Affair
Norfolk State defeated UTEP 85-76 behind the shooting of guard Charles Oliver who went 4-of-8 from the field and finished the night with 22 points in game two of the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational, Monday night.
NSU guard Jeff Short finished the night with 18 points while forward Preston Bungei added 15 to lead the Spartans to victory in front of over 7,000 fans.
The Spartans, who are now 5-7 on the year, jumped out to an early 9-1 lead. They ended up going into the locker at halftime with a 40-35 lead but the Miners fought back in the second half and pulled to within six at 69-63 with 5:51 left to play. NSU answered with a 6-0 run while guard Zaynah Robinson made eight free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
UTEP’s Dominic Artis went 4-of-7 from beyond the arc for 18 points and Omega Harris added 16 for the Miners, who have dropped five straight games and are now 6-5 on the year.
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