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FINAL DAY OF WESTSTAR BANK DON HASKINS SUN BOWL INVITATIONAL SET December 21, 2016

FINAL DAY OF WESTSTAR BANK DON HASKINS SUN BOWL INVITATIONAL SET

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.

Akron vs UC Irvine – Dec. 21, 2016
Maryland Eastern Shore vs. UTEP – Dec. 21, 2016

(recaps courtesy of Akron, UC Irvine and UTEP media relations)

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55th Annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational Starts Today December 21, 2016

55th Annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational Starts Today

EL PASO, Texas – The 55th Annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational starts today, Dec. 21 with two games scheduled. Below is the information on today’s games and attached are game notes from each team.

Today’s Games
Game One
5 p.m. – Akron (Visiting Team) vs. UC Irvine (Home Team)

Game Two
7 p.m. – Maryland Eastern Shore (Visiting Team) vs. UTEP (Home Team)

Live Stats Link: http://www.utepathletics.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/don-haskins-sun-bowl-invitational-16.html

Akron record: 5-8
UC Irvine record: 8-3
UMES record: 1-11
UTEP record: 2-7

Akron Head Coach: Keith Dambrot (Akron, ’82)
UC Irvine Head Coach: Russell Turner (Hampden-Sydney, ’92)
UMES Head Coach: Bobby Collins (Eastern Kentucky , ’91)
UTEP Head Coach: Tim Floyd (Louisiana Tech, ’77)

Akron Game Notes – Dec. 21
Maryland Eastern Shore Game Notes – Dec. 21, 2016
UC Irvine Game Notes – Dec. 21, 2016
UTEP Game Notes – Dec. 21, 2016

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STANFORD’S MCCAFFREY TO SIT OUT HYUNDAI SUN BOWL; COMMENT FROM SUN BOWL ASSOCIATION December 19, 2016

STANFORD’S MCCAFFREY TO SIT OUT HYUNDAI SUN BOWL; COMMENT FROM SUN BOWL ASSOCIATION

EL PASO, Texas – Stanford University Athletics released the announcement that Christian McCaffrey will not play in the Hyundai Sun Bowl. The junior running back announced Monday that he will direct his focus and efforts toward training for the 2017 NFL Draft.

The Sun Bowl Association, on behalf of the Hyundai Sun Bowl has released a statement.

“Well we would be lying if we said we weren’t a little disappointed, but at the same time, we are also understanding,” said Executive Director Bernie Olivas.

“He (McCaffrey) was hurt earlier this year so I am sure that weighed on his decision. He has a tremendous NFL career ahead of him and that might be sitting in the back of his head. Risking injury or re-injuring might be some things he is thinking about so it really is hard to be too disappointed. Although some might see this as a trend, I believe that playing in a bowl game would be a great way to wrap up a college career. We’ve had our fair share of players who have played in our game and I hope we continue to see more,” Olivas stated.

If any members of the media would like to get an interview with Executive Director Bernie Olivas, Sun Bowl Committee Chairman John Folmer or Media Relations Director Eddie Morelos on this topic, please be at the El Paso International Airport at 2 p.m. (MT).

The 2016 Hyundai Sun Bowl is set for Friday, Dec. 30 in Sun Bowl Stadium with kick-off scheduled for noon with North Carolina taking on nationally ranked Stanford.

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WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational Team Arrivals December 17, 2016

WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational Team Arrivals

EL PASO, Texas – The Sun Bowl Association and WestStar Bank are announcing the dates and times of the team arrivals for the teams playing in the 55th WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational.

Although the tournament starts on Wednesday, Dec. 21, teams begin arriving on Sunday, Dec. 18. Defending tournament champion UC Irvine lands in the Sun City, Sunday at 6:50 p.m. (MT). WestStar Bank and the Sun Bowl Association invite you to join in on the fun by showing the Anteaters a warm El Paso welcoming.

“It’d be amazing to get as many people out to welcome all the basketball teams,” said Executive Director of the Hyundai Sun Bowl Bernie Olivas. “We, the people of El Paso, are known for our hospitality and I encourage the community to get out to the airport to give our visitors a great welcoming.”

Akron is the second team arriving and gets to El Paso on Monday Dec. 19 at 2:25 p.m. (MT) while the third and final team, Maryland Eastern Shore lands, Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 1:15 p.m. (MT).

The basketball tournament begins on Wednesday, Dec. 21 with UC Irvine facing Akron at 5 p.m. (MT). Maryland Eastern Shore faces UTEP at 7 p.m. (MT) on day one with all games being played in the Don Haskins Center.

The Consolation Game is set for 5 p.m. (MT) on Thursday with the Championship Game set for 7 p.m. (MT).

Team Arrival Schedule
UC Irvine – Sunday, Dec. 18 at 6:50 p.m. (MT)
Akron – Monday, Dec. 19 at 2:25 p.m. (MT)
Maryland Eastern Shore – Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 1:15 p.m. (MT)

Tickets for the tournament are available at the Sun Bowl Association office at (915-533-4416 or 800-915-BOWL), the UTEP Ticket Center (915-747-5234) and TicketMaster outlets. Tickets can be reserved now by calling the Sun Bowl Association office. Tickets are also included in UTEP season ticket packages.

Four-Game, Two Night Package:
$40 (rows 1-34) and $20 (rows 35-39)
*$20 UTEP students, plus one guest at same price

Two-Game, One-Night Package:
$22 (rows 1-34) and $12 (rows 35-39)
*$12 UTEP students, plus one guest at same price

*Must purchase at the UTEP Ticket Center Only

Single Day Sales
-Single event sales (2-games, 1-night) will be offered beginning Tuesday, Dec. 20, 8 a.m.

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PREVIEW OF NORTH CAROLINA: SWITZER, TRUBISKY LEAD HEELS TO FIFTH SUN BOWL December 9, 2016

PREVIEW OF NORTH CAROLINA: SWITZER, TRUBISKY LEAD HEELS TO FIFTH SUN BOWL

EL PASO, Texas – Led by standout quarterback Mitch Trubisky and his arsenal of offensive play makers headlined by wide out Ryan Switzer, the University of North Carolina will try to pick up a statement win against No. 16 Stanford in the 2016 Hyundai Sun Bowl.

Trubisky, one of the nation’s most efficient passers and, who at one point during the season, was named the No. 1 quarterback in the 2017 NFL draft by ESPN’s Mel Kiper, will look to cap off an already historic season with a win over the 9-3 Cardinal. The 8-4 Tar Heels quarterback will have some help from first-team All ACC play maker Switzer, who finished the season with 91 grabs for 1,027 yards and five touchdowns.

The Hyundai Sun Bowl, featuring the East coast vs. West coast matchup, is scheduled for a noon (MST) kickoff on Dec. 30 at Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso.

“We’re excited to represent the University of North Carolina and the Atlantic Coast Conference in the Sun Bowl, a game with so much history going back more than 80 years,” said UNC head coach Larry Fedora. “Our team is looking forward to a terrific experience in El Paso with the opportunity to finish the season with positive momentum. Stanford consistently competes for the PAC-12 championship and this will be a tremendous challenge for our team.”

Fedora enters the game having made a bowl appearance in eight of his last nine seasons. This will be the 33rd all-time bowl game for the Heels, who are 2-2 in Sun Bowl history. Their last appearance in the bowl was 1994, where they were handed a 35-31 loss by Texas.

UNC is entering the contest coming off a one score loss to North Carolina State, 28-21. Carolina has been up and down this season, racking up two-to-three wins at a time in between losses. The season was highlighted with ACC wins over Florida State (37-35), Miami (20-13) and Pittsburgh (37-36).

Fedora said of the season and the team’s latest loss, “We weren’t able to overcome all the emotions we created for ourselves. There were a few games down the stretch that we didn’t play up to our capability. We didn’t make the ordinary plays that we needed to make, and it wasn’t anything that we had to do out of the ordinary, we just couldn’t make the ordinary plays; we didn’t do that for whatever reason so I can tell you that the state of mind for this football team”

Trubisky and company run a pass heavy offense, ranking 22nd in the country in passing offense with a 294 yards per game average. A key to their success through the air has been the quarterback’s accuracy with the ball, throwing 28 touchdowns to only four interceptions to go along with his 3,468 yards.

Behind center, Trubisky set single-season records for UNC in both yardage and touchdowns. The team ranks ninth in the nation in passing efficiency, recording a 159.76 rating. Individually, the slinger ranks in the top 15 in the nation in passing yards, touchdowns, efficiency and yards per game.

In the ground game, UNC’s Elijah Hood leads with a team-high 858 yards and eight touchdowns during the regular season. Also a threat in the pass-attack, Hood caught 25 passes for 142 yards.

On defense the Tar Heels are led by Nazir Jones, recording a team-high 7.5 tackles for a loss and 62 total tackles on the year. Emerging as a veteran leader amongst a young defense, Nazir announced Friday that he will be entering the 2017 NFL draft.

“He has overcome great physical adversity and improved tremendously since he came into the program in 2013. This season he was the leader of our defensive line and someone everyone on the team respected. I believe he has a bright future in professional football if he continues to work hard and focus on being the best he can be,” Fedora said.

Other defensive standouts include defensive end Malik Carney and linebacker Andre Smith. Smith led the team with 110 tackles while Carney was the team’s best pass rusher, recording 4.5 sacks.

As a team, UNC ranked No. 14 in the nation in pass defense, allowing only 183 yards per game. On the opposite side of the ball, the Tar Heels allowed 235 rush yards per game and 28 rushing touchdowns.

Tickets for the 83rd Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl are on sale through Ticketmaster and the Sun Bowl Association office. The 2016 Hyundai Sun Bowl is set for Friday, Dec. 30 in Sun Bowl Stadium with kick-off scheduled for noon. The game features select teams from the ACC and the Pac-12.

Tickets for the game can be purchased online through the link available at www.sunbowl.org. Customers can call the Sun Bowl Association office (915-533-4416) and are also invited to stop by the Sun Bowl Association office that is located at 4150 Pinnacle Street, Suite 100 in El Paso to purchase tickets.

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