EL PASO, Texas – The ETSU Bucs (9-4) will take on the Spartans of Norfolk State (5-8) in the championship game of the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational after each team was victorious on Thursday night at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas.
In game one of the tournament, ETSU held Wyoming to just 1-of-26 in the first half of play before eventually winning the game 76-53. Game two featured Norfolk State and UTEP with the Spartans defeating the Miners 75-62.
The Buccaneers held Wyoming to just one field goal made in the first half, which is the second time since 1986 that a team has held an opponent to just one field goal. According to the NCAA record book, Kansas State held Savannah State to a 1-for-23 shooting night in 2008. ETSU shared the scoring duties with four players finishing in double figures with junior forward Jeromy Rodriguez picking up a double-double, posting 12 points and 14 rebounds.
The Cowboys were led in scoring by redshirt freshman Hunter Thompson as he marked a career-high 25 points. He was 7-for-8 from three-point land, which ties a career-high. The Cowboys shot 31 percent from the field going 16-of-52, a season-low. Although Wyoming made only one field goal in the first half, the team shot 58 percent from the field in the second half.
ETSU shot 46 percent from the field on the night going 31-of-68. The Bucs, one of the nation’s best rebounding teams, out-rebounded the Cowboys 48-34, while scoring 52 points in the paint, which helped lead the way to a 76-53 victory.
For the second time in as many tries in the Sun Bowl Invitational, the Norfolk State men’s basketball team pulled off the upset of host UTEP. This time, the Spartans made 11 three-pointers that led to a 75-62 win.
Norfolk State built a six-point halftime lead and pushed it further and further out of Miner reach, before eventually taking the victory in the opening round of the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational. There were 4,284 in attendance on Friday night at the Don Haskins Center.
The Spartans take on ETSU on Saturday night at 7 p.m. (MT) for the tournament title game in the Don Haskins Center.
Consolation Game – 5 p.m. (MT) – Wyoming vs. UTEP
Championship Game – 7 p.m. (MT) – ETSU vs. Norfolk State
In 2009, the tournament was renamed to honor former UTEP head coach and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Don Haskins. “The Bear” coached at UTEP from 1961 to 1999, winning 719 games and making 14 postseason appearances. Haskins famously led the Miners to victory in the 1966 National Championship game over Adolph Rupp and the heavily favored Kentucky Wildcats.
The WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational is the oldest holiday basketball tournament in the nation.