Matchups Set For Corpus Christi Coastal Classic

UTEP will face Southern Illinois, and either Colorado State or Portland at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi Nov. 27-28.

The field and matchups are set for the 2015 Corpus Christi Coastal Classic. The UTEP men’s basketball team will battle Southern Illinois at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi on Nov. 27 at 5 p.m. CT (4 p.m. MT). The Miners will face either Colorado State or Portland on Nov. 28 at a time to be determined (either 5 p.m. CT/4 p.m. MT or 7:30 p.m. CT/6:30 p.m. MT).

UTEP will play a total of four games in the tournament, including hosting Alcorn State on Nov. 22 and Florida A&M on Nov. 24.

Other tournament participants are Abilene Christian and Oakland.

Southern Illinois returns three starters off last year’s team that finished 12-21 overall and 4-14 in the Missouri Valley Conference. Headlining the returnees is senior guard Anthony Beane, who averaged 16.1 points and was named All-Conference.

Other starters returning are junior forward Sean O’Brien (7.4 points, 4.9 rebounds) and junior guard Tyler Smithpeters (4.3 points, .368 from 3-point). Junior Center Bola Olaniyan (4.6 points, 4.5 rebounds) is expected to compete with senior Ibby Djimde (2.4 points, 1.1 rebounds) for another starting spot.

A pair of junior college transfers (Mike Rodriguez and Leo Vincent) are expected to contend for the starting point guard position. Barry Hinson is the Missouri Valley Conference’s winningest active coach with 209 victories in 12 seasons between Missouri State and SIU.

Coming off of a program-best 27-7 record that culminated in an NIT bid, the Rams’ fifth postseason berth in the last six years, Colorado State enters 2015-16 looking to continue one of the most successful eras in school history under fourth-year head coach Larry Eustachy.

The Rams return five lettermen, including a pair of senior starters in guard Joe De Ciman and center Tiel Daniels. In addition to De Ciman and Daniels, the Rams also bring back key contributors from last season in senior guard Gian Clavell, junior guard John Gillon (2015 Mountain West Sixth Man of the Year) and senior forward Fred Richardson III.

Additionally, the Rams earned a boost when it was announced this offseason that senior point guard Antwan Scott would be eligible for the 2015-16 season after being granted an extension of eligibility waiver by the NCAA.

Portland Head Coach Eric Reveno returns an experienced backcourt and seven lettermen from a 2014-15 squad that finished 17-16 overall and earned an invitation to the Postseason Tournament. Junior point guard Alec Wintering is a two-year starter and was an All-West Coast Conference second team selection last season after averaging 12.3 points and dishing out 5.7 assists per game.

Senior combo guard Bryce Pressley, also a two-year starter, ranks sixth in Portland career three-point field goal percentage (.411). The Pilots also return sophomores Jason Todd and Gabe Taylor. Todd started four games late in the season and shot 44 percent from three-point range, while Taylor scored a season-high 14 points against BYU in the WCC Tournament semifinals. Fellow sophomores Philipp Hartwich and D’Marques Tyson also played crucial minutes last year.

Portland bolstered the roster with a pair of impact junior college transfers in forward Jarrel Marshall (Palm Beach State) and Ray Barreno (New Mexico Junior College), along with five true freshmen.

Other third round matchups at Corpus Christi on Nov. 27 are Alcorn State vs. Oakland (noon CT/11 a.m. MT), Abilene Christian vs. Florida A&M (2:30 p.m. CT/1:30 p.m. MT) and Colorado State vs. Portland (7:30 p.m. CT/6:30 p.m. MT).

Tickets for the final rounds in Corpus Christi can be purchased by visiting the American Bank Center Box Office, or purchase by dialing (800) 745-3000. For ADA seating please call (361) 826-4170.

UTEP Basketball season tickets are also on sale now by calling (915) 747-6150. The Miners return six letterwinners from last year’s 22-win squad that tied for second place in Conference USA, while introducing a top-flight recruiting class.

Author: UTEP Athletics