UC Irvine and Akron Highlight 2016 WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational
The Sun Bowl Association announced the field for the 55th Annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational, and it includes a familiar team. UC-Irvine, last year's champions return to defend their title against Akron, Maryland Eastern Shore, and host UTEP. The games will be played on Wednesday, December 21st and Thursday, December 22nd at the Don Haskins Center.
"We are excited to return to El Paso and the historic Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational," UC Irvine head coach Russel Turner said. "The tournament environment is first class and the field is strong. We have seven newcomers on our roster who will be visiting El Paso for the first time. We appreciate the invitation and look forward to competing."
The Anteaters finished last season with a record 28 wins and a share of the Big West regular season title. Luke Nelson, who was named Sun Bowl Tournament MVP last season, returns for his senior season at UC-Irvine.
Akron and Maryland Eastern Shore are making their first ever appearances in the Sun Bowl Invitational. The Zips went 26-9 last season under head coach Keith Dambrot, and have advanced to the postseason in eight of its last nine seasons. Akron's top two scorers, 6-10 senior center Isaiah Johnson and 6-2 sophomore guard Josh Williams will both return for the upcoming season. Maryland Eastern Shore won just 10 games last season, and the Hawks will play the Miners in the Tournament's first round on December 21st.