The Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational is pleased to announce the participant’s for this year’s event, to be held November 26-27, 2015 at the beautiful Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
This season’s stellar field includes: West Virginia University, University of Richmond, San Diego State University, University of California, University of Hawaii, Sam Houston State University, Bethune-Cookman University and Liberty University.
West Virginia, coming off a 25-win season and an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance, returns seven players with starting experience, including three regulars. Junior forward Devin Williams started 34 games and led the Mountaineers in rebounding at 8.1 per game, while finishing second in scoring at 11.6 points per game. Senior forward Jonathan Holton (7.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and sophomore guard Daxter Miles Jr. (7.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg) started all 35 games in 2014-15. Other returnees with starting experience, include senior Jaysean Paige (35 3s, 10 starts), sophomore Jevon Carter (team-leading 67 steals and 48 3s, 4 starts), junior Nathan Adrian (15.4 minutes per game, 4 start) and sophomore Elijah Macon (13.1 minutes per game, 1 start). The Mountaineers also return junior Tarik Phillip (34 games played) and junior Brandon Watkins (23 games played). Coach Bob Huggins will be entering his ninth season at WVU and 34th overall with 765 career wins, ranking 12th all-time in NCAA history.
San Diego State will enter the upcoming campaign as the back-to-back Mountain West regular-season champions and fresh off its sixth straight NCAA tournament berth. The Aztecs are one of eight schools nationally to have reached the NCAAs six years in a row and one of nine programs in America to reach the Round of 32 three straight seasons. Overall, San Diego State finished 2014-15 with a 27-9 record (14-4 Mountain West), its 10th consecutive 20-win campaign and seventh straight season with at least 23 victories.
The Aztecs return three of their top five scorers from last season, including leading scorer senior forward Winston Shepard (11.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg). San Diego State also returns a pair of sophomores coming off sensational campaigns as true freshmen. Sophomore guard Trey Kell is a returning starter (5.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.6 apg) who was named to the Maui Invitational all-tournament team, while sophomore forward Malik Pope (5.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 40.8 3FG pct.) overcame an off-season injury to explode on to the landscape last season.
The 2015-16 California men’s basketball team returns three starters, including First Team All-Pac-12 selection and Bob Cousy Award Finalist Tyrone Wallace. The Golden Bears bring back four of their top five scorers overall, along with their top rebounder and assist leader from an 18-win team in 2014-15. Wallace heads into his senior season as one of the Pac-12’s active leaders in career scoring with nearly 1,200 points. The point guard was the lone individual in the conference to finish in the top-five in the league in points (17.1 ppg.), rebounds (7.1 rpg.) and assists (4.0). He is joined by returning veterans in junior guards Jabari Bird (10.5 ppg. last season), Jordan Mathews (13.6 ppg. last season). The Bears, under second-year head coach Cuonzo Martin, return an experienced lineup overall as they usher in a new-look Haas Pavilion that underwent extensive renovations in the off-season.
Richmond (21-14) returns four starters and all but two significant player from this year’s squad which advanced to the NIT Quarterfinals. Forwards Terry Allen, and T.J. Cline. Allen led the squad with 6.7 rebounds per game while averaging 13.0 points per contest. Cline scored 11.8 points per game and was second on the time in three-point percentage with 38.8 pct from deep. Atlantic 10 Sixth Man of the Year ShawnDre’ Jones returns for his junior season. The guard averaged 10.3 points and dished a team-high 90 assists against just 40 turnovers. He also led the squad with 64 three-pointers.
FOX Sports 1 presents coverage of four 2015 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational games played at Orleans Arena, televising two opening-round games on Thursday, Nov. 26, and the championship and consolation games on Friday, Nov. 27. Effective this season, FOX Sports assumes control of the Las Vegas Invitational and Las Vegas Classic, running all aspects of the tournaments, ranging from ticket sales, sponsorships, and television production.
Always one of the top early season tournaments of the college basketball season, the past champions of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational reads like a “Who’s Who” of college basketball: Illinois (2005), Kansas (2006 and 2010), North Carolina (2007), Kentucky (2008) and Oklahoma State (2009). In the 2011 title game, UNLV upset #1 North Carolina 90-80. Creighton (2012), UCLA (2013), and last year’s 2014 Champion Illinois.
Each team will play four games in the Invitational – the first two at on-campus sites and the final two rounds at the Orleans Arena November 26-27. Hosting more than 200 events each year, the Orleans Arena is located just west of the Las Vegas strip and was recently named the #1 mid-size arena in the USA by Venues Today magazine.
Press Release Courtesy WVU Athletic Communication