Tuesday, December 31, 2019




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.

Wyoming vs. ETSU – Recap
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.

UTEP vs. Norfolk State – Recap
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.

Saturday, Dec. 22
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.

## Sun Bowl ##



EL PASO, Texas – The Hyundai Sun Bowl and CBS Sports announced the talent for the 85th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl, which is set for Monday, Dec. 31 with kick-off set for 12 p.m. (MT).

Brad Nessler is handling the play-by-play while Gary Danielson is the color-analyst. Nessler and Danielson have worked the Hyundai Sun Bowl together twice before (2016 and 2017) while this will be Danielson’s 10th Sun Bowl football game. Jamie Erdahl is working her first Hyundai Sun Bowl game as the sideline reporter.

“We are very lucky to have some of the best announcers cover our game each year,” said Sun Bowl Association Executive Director Bernie Olivas. “Gary Danielson worked many games with Sun Bowl Legend Verne Lundquist. This announcing crew has covered some big games this year and to have them here at the Sun Bowl is a great way to end the year.”

The trio covered many games out of the SEC, including the SEC Championship which featured Georgia falling to Alabama. Nessler, Danielson and Erdahl also worked the Army-Navy game on Saturday, Dec. 8 in Philadelphia.

The 85th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl will be televised on CBS for the 51st consecutive year.

Brad Nessler
Brad Nessler is a college football and college basketball play-by-play announcer for CBS Sports. In May 2016, Nessler was named the lead play-by-play announcer for the SEC ON CBS beginning with the 2017 season. He is teamed up with Gary Danielson and Jamie Erdahl calling the “SEC Game of the Week.” Nessler previously worked for CBS Sports from 1990-92 on college football, NFL as well as men’s and women’s basketball, including the NCAA Division I Women’s Championship game. He also was the network’s host for speed skating coverage at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, France. Before returning to CBS Sports, Nessler had an illustrious 24-year career at ESPN. From 1992-97, he called college basketball games and Big Ten football. Beginning in 1997, Nessler served as an analyst for ABC for various sports and events including college basketball, the Bowl Championship Series title game and most prominently with college football. From 2002-04, he served as an announcer for ESPN and ABC’s coverage of the National Basketball Association. After ESPN began its coverage of Monday Night Football in 2006, Nessler served as a contributor calling games between 2006-11. During his time at ESPN, he also called the ESPN College Football Primetime game on Saturday nights and the College Football Playoff semifinals. In addition to his various ESPN assignments, Nessler also served as play-by-play announcer for the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package on NFL Network from 2011-13.

Nessler began his professional broadcasting career as a play-by-play radio announcer for WGST-AM in Atlanta, Ga. from 1980-85. Throughout his time with WGST, Nessler served as a play-by-play announcer for Georgia Tech basketball and later the Atlanta Falcons. Following his assignments with WGST, Nessler served as a radio play-by play announcer for various National Football League teams, including the Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins. A graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato, Nessler now resides in Duluth, Ga. with his wife, Nancy.

Gary Danielson
Gary Danielson, a 13-year National Football League veteran and former Purdue University quarterback, joined CBS Sports as lead analyst for the CBS Television Network’s coverage of college football in 2006. He is teamed with Brad Nessler and Jamie Erdahl calling the “SEC Game of the Week.” Danielson joined CBS Sports after having served as analyst for ABC Sports for the nine years (1997-2005). Since 1991, he served as an analyst for ESPN’s college football broadcasts. Before joining ABC Sports, Danielson provided analysis for the Detroit Lions preseason football games.

After playing for three teams in the World Football League from 1974-75 (New York Stars, Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Wind), Danielson signed with the Detroit Lions as a free agent in 1976. He became the third all-time leading passer in Lions history. In 1985, he was traded to the Cleveland Browns where he spent four seasons before retiring in 1988. During his 13-year NFL career, Danielson passed for 13,764 yards.

Danielson was a part-time anchor/reporter at WDIV-TV (Detroit) during the off-season while a member of the Lions. And in Cleveland, he also co-hosted a sports talk show. A 1973 graduate of Purdue University, Danielson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Industrial Management, and earned a Master’s degree in Physical Education from Purdue in 1976. He is married, with four children.

Jamie Erdahl
Jamie Erdahl joined CBS Sports in 2014. In 2018, she was named the lead SEC ON CBS reporter alongside Gary Danielson and Brad Nessler. Erdahl also is a reporter for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and regular-season college basketball games on CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network. She also serves as an analyst for select women’s college basketball games on CBS Sports Network. Prior to being named the lead SEC ON CBS reporter, Erdahl spent three years as a sideline reporter for The NFL ON CBS. In 2018, she was a major part of the CBS SPORTS HQ launch, appearing as an anchor for the 24/7 sports news outlet. Erdahl joined CBS from NESN where she worked as a rinkside reporter for the Boston Bruins. She also covered the Boston Red Sox and served as host of NESN Sports Today.

Erdahl played basketball and softball at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, before transferring to American University, from which she graduated with a degree in communications. She currently resides in Philadelphia, Pa.



EL PASO, Texas – The Pittsburgh Panthers make their fourth appearance in the Sun Bowl when they take on the Stanford Cardinal in the 85th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl Game on Monday, Dec. 31.

“Our kids are going to be excited,” head coach Pat Narduzzi said about learning Pittsburgh (7-6, 6-2 ACC) would be heading to the Sun Bowl. “When you think about Pitt versus Stanford (8-4, 6-3 Pac-12) both those names ring a bell in people’s heads. We know how strong both institutions are and when you think of the tradition of Pitt and Stanford, I think it’s a great matchup.”

Pitt struggled early in the season and sat at 3-4 after a 19-14 loss to then No. 14 Notre Dame. It then won four consecutive games including a 23-13 win over then No. 25 Virginia on the road and won the Atlantic Division. The Panthers earned a bid in the ACC Championship Game against No. 2 Clemson but lost 42-10.

The Panthers played 11 bowl-eligible teams this season and went 6-5. The teams included Clemson (13-0) and Notre Dame (12-0) who earned bids in the College Football Playoff, and undefeated UCF (12-0).

The Panthers leaned heavily on the running game all season and had two 1,000-yard rushers for the first time in school history in Qadree Ollison (1,190) and Darrin Hall (1,021). The tandem helped Pittsburgh to 192 rushing yards against Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, the most given up by the Tigers all season. Pittsburgh is averaging 230 rushing yards a game, third-best in the ACC.

Quarterback Kenny Pickett leads Pittsburgh’s passing attack accumulating 1,833 passing yards and 12 touchdowns this season. The Panthers managed just four completions for eight yards against the Clemson defense and looks to improve passing production against Stanford.

“We know how physical they (Stanford) are up front so we’re going to have to throw the football a lot better,” Coach Narduzzi said of what his team will have to do to pick up a Sun Bowl win. “If we can’t throw the ball against Stanford then we’ll have the same result we had against Clemson. This team can score points, they can throw the ball, so we have to be able to stay up with them point-wise.”

Pitt brings physicality and tradition to El Paso this year, and coach Narduzzi is definitely looking for support from the local fans, “I’ve never been to El Paso, but I hear the hospitality is incredible. We’re looking forward to being down there and tell the people of El Paso to get their Pitt gear ready to go.”

Pitt takes on Stanford, Monday, Dec. 31, with kick-off set for noon (MT).

by Michael Lujan on behalf of the Hyundai Sun Bowl



EL PASO, Texas – The Sun Bowl Association hosts the 57th Annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational, Friday and Saturday, Dec 21-22 at the Don Haskins Center.

The tournament opens with East Tennessee State facing Wyoming at 5 p.m. (MT) followed by a matchup between Norfolk State and UTEP at 7 p.m. (MT).

“We are excited to continue all the Sun Bowl festivities with our annual basketball tournament,” said Bernie Olivas, Executive Director of the Sun Bowl Association. “It’s always great to host teams from around the country and we hope the community continues to treat the visiting teams with the great hospitality El Paso is known for.”

ETSU (8-4) is looking to recover after a loss against Illinois, falling 73-55, Dec 15. Junior Tray Boyd leads the team in scoring (12.0 ppg) while Junior Jeromy Rodriguez is the team’s top rebounder (11.9 rpg). The Buccaneers bring in 7-footer Lucas N’Guessan, an Oklahoma State transfer who made his first appearance against Illinois.

Wyoming (3-7) suffered an overtime loss to the Denver Pioneers in Laramie 90-87. Senior Justin James is the leading scorer (24.5 ppg) and rebounder (9.8 rpg). Both Hunter Thompson (RFr.) and Jake Hendricks (Jr.) are coming off a career-high game in points scored 15 and 27 respectively.

Norfolk State (4-8) comes in after an 80-49 loss to last year’s Final Four Cinderella story Loyola-Chicago. Redshirt Junior Nic Thomas is the top scorer (14.9 ppg) and Redshirt Senior Jordan Butler leads in rebounds (5.4 rpg). The Spartans are 0-5 on the road and are in the midst of a three-game losing streak.

UTEP (4-5) won their last game against UC Riverside at home 68-56. Sophomore Evan Gilyard leads in scoring (18 ppg) while Freshman Efe Odigie is the leading rebounder (9.0 rpg). Odigie put up 24 points against the Highlanders.

The Miners fell to North Dakota State in last year’s Championship game 63-51.

Friday, Dec. 21
5 p.m. (MT) – ETSU vs. Wyoming
7 p.m. (MT) – Norfolk State vs. UTEP

Saturday, Dec. 22
5 p.m. (MT) – Consolation Game
7 p.m. (MT) – Championship Game

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.



EL PASO, Texas – The Cardinal will be making their second Sun Bowl appearance in three years when they take on Athletic Coast Conference runner-up Pittsburgh in the 85th Hyundai Sun Bowl on New Year’s Eve at Sun Bowl Stadium.

This year’s Sun Bowl appearance will also be Stanford’s third-consecutive bowl game in the state of Texas. The Cardinal played in last year’s Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.

“It’s a lot of excitement,” Stanford head coach David Shaw, who is in his eight-year, said. “It’s one of the most fun periods that we had the last few years. The people at the (Sun) bowl are unbelievable."

The Cardinal began the season ranked No. 13 in the AP rankings and immediately proved their worth starting 4-0. That quick start to the season included a 17-3 win against Southern California and a 38-31 thrilling overtime victory at Oregon, both were ranked in the top 25 when they fell to Stanford.

In Week five, Stanford had its biggest test of the season, traveling to South Bend, Indiana to face No. 3 Norte Dame, who will be playing in the College Football Playoff. The Cardinal were within one possession for most of the game until the Irish ultimately pulled away to win 38-17.

After a loss to Utah, which played in the Pac-12 title game, the Cardinal rebounded with a 20-13 win at Arizona State. That win was followed by back-to-back tough losses against the Pac-12’s toughest opponents.

Stanford hosted Washington State, which was ranked No. 14 that week in the College Football Playoff rankings. After a back-and-forth affair, the Cougars walked out of Stanford Stadium with 41-38 victory and propelling them to the top 10 for the next few weeks.

The following week, Stanford went on the road to take on eventual Pac-12 champion Washington and came close to upending the Huskies but lost, 27-23.

Stanford wrapped up its regular season campaign by defeating rival California on the road, 23-13. The win clinched Stanford’s 10th-straight eight-win season.

“The biggest thing for us after this difficult season that we have is getting everyone healthy,” Shaw said. “So, we give our guys some time off, jump into school, stay in the training room and get away from football for a little bit.”
A lot of Stanford’s success came through its attention to detail on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the Cardinal finished in fifth in scoring offense and defense in the Pac-12.

Stanford was led by junior quarterback K.J. Costello, who finished with 3,435 passing yards, which was second best in the conference.
The defensive side was just as effective for the Cardinal, especially the team’s front seven. Stanford’s defense tallied a remarkable 33 sacks this season, third best in the Pac-12.

The Cardinal secondary was among the best in the country and it was led by stand-out defensive back Paulson Adebo. The sophomore led the conference with four interceptions and earned first team all-conference honors and was named a second-team All-American by the Football Writers Association.

“There’s always one big factor for me,” Shaw said. “And that’s being resilient. I think this is the most injuries we’ve had in one season. But we always bounce back. The next guy goes in and works extremely hard.”

It will be an exciting return to the Sun City for Stanford, who left El Paso in 2016 with a 25-23 win against North Carolina in the 83rd Hyundai Sun Bowl.

Tickets for this year’s Hyundai Sun Bowl can be purchased by calling 915-533-4416 or by visiting ticketmaster.com. Kick-off is at noon (MT).

by Jose Corral on behalf of the Hyundai Sun Bowl Media Relations Dept.