RENO, Nev. – The University of Nevada men’s basketball team will compete in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Holiday Invitational at the Orleans Arena, Nov. 22-23. It marks third consecutive season that the Wolf Pack will play in a holiday event in Las Vegas. In addition to Nevada, Tulsa, Southern Illinois and Massachusetts will be in the field.
"We are excited to play in Las Vegas over the Thanksgiving Holiday against Tulsa,” Nevada head coach Eric Musselman said. “Our staff has tried to make it a priority to play in Las Vegas every year which allows our fans and alumni in Southern Nevada a chance to watch the Wolf Pack play more than one game each season. It’s a convenient trip and the Orleans Arena is great venue. The tournament was extremely well-run last year and was a great experience for our players and staff."
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.
The Pack opens play with Tulsa and will face either Southern Illinois or Massachusetts in the second game. The games will be televised by Fox Sports 1. As part of the event Nevada will play two home games on Nov. 16 and 19. Arkansas Little Rock comes to Lawlor Events Center on Nov.16 and the second opponent has yet to be determined.
Tickets for the final rounds in Las Vegas are available by calling the Wolf Pack ticket office at 775-348-PACK (7225) or at the Orleans Arena box office via the internet at www.orleansarena.com.
The Tournament Field
Nevada returns four of its top five scorers in seniors Caleb Martin (18.9 ppg), Jordan Caroline (17.7 ppg), Cody Martin (14 ppg) and Lindsey Drew (8.1 ppg) from a team that went 29-8. The Wolf Pack reached the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 and won its second consecutive outright Mountain West title. The 29 wins tied the school record.
Pack head coach Eric Musselman, the 2018 Mountain West Coach of the Year, returns for his fourth season leading the Wolf Pack and may have his most talented and deep team in his tenure at Nevada. The Pack became just the second MW team to win back-to-back outright regular season titles going 15-3 in conference play last season after a 14-4 record in 2017. They will seek to become the first MW school to win three consecutive outright regular season titles in 2018-19.
Tulsa returns eight letter winners, including three starters, from last year’s team that registered 19 wins and finished fourth in the American Athletic Conference. Fifth-year head coach Frank Haith’s squad is led by senior point guard Sterling Taplin, who averaged 11.8 points and 4.4 assists per game while setting career highs in nearly every offensive category a season ago. The returning cast also includes 6-foot-8 junior forward Martins Igbanu (9.4 ppg/5.1 rpg) and 6-foot-5 senior wing DaQuan Jeffries (9.7 ppg/4.9 rpg). In all, the team brings back 56.3-percent of its offense from the 2017-18 campaign and the Golden Hurricane will receive a boost from 6-foot-7 sophomore forward Jeriah Horne, who sat out last season after transferring into the program.
Southern Illinois returns all five starters and its top-four leading scorers from last year’s 20-win team, led by first-team All-District guard Armon Fletcher (14.1 ppg). Sean Lloyd Jr. (12.1 ppg) and Kavion Pippen (12.1 ppg) are two of Southern’s six seniors in 2018-19, and both earned postseason awards from the Missouri Valley Conference last year. Eric McGill and Thik Bol will both return to the Salukis after missing last season with injuries. Bol blocked an MVC-leading 76 shots in 2016-17. SIU is coming off a second-place finish in the MVC, the best conference finish for the program since 2006-07.
UMass and head coach Matt McCall return six players and add four transfers and three freshmen to a squad that went 13-20 during a transition year a season ago. The Minutemen return the Atlantic 10 Most Improved Player in guard Luwane Pipkins, who averaged over 20 points per game to join the likes of former UMass stars Julius Erving and Marcus Camby while breaking the single-season three-point record and single-game scoring record with 44 points. Carl Pierre joins Pipkins as a returning starter who averaged over 12 points per game during his freshman campaign, reaching double-figures in the scoring column in 23 games on the year and in 17 of the last 19 games of the season.
About Continental Tire
Based in Fort Mill, S.C., Continental Tire the Americas, LLC manufactures and distributes a complete premium line of passenger, light truck and commercial tires for original equipment and replacement markets. Our ultra-high, performance tires include award-winning technologies that focus on safety, help save money, and reduce CO2 emissions. Continental’s premium products are available at leading independent tire dealers, car dealers, and mass retail companies across North America. Continental Tire is a proud supporter of IMSA, Major League Soccer (MLS), West Coast Customs, World Racing, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, and Petty’s Garage.