LAS VEGAS— The Continental Tire Las Vegas Holiday Invitational, an action-packed NCAA basketball tournament, is coming to Orleans Arena on Nov. 22-23, bringing teams from University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), University of Tulsa (TU), Southern Illinois University (SIU) and University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMASS).
Each team will play four games – the first two at campus sites and the final two at the Orleans Arena. The matchups and tournament schedule is as follows:
Thursday, Nov. 22
10:30 a.m. – UMASS vs. SIU
1 p.m. – UNR vs. TU
Friday, Nov. 23
7 p.m. – UNR/TU vs. UMASS/SIU
9:30 p.m. – UNR/TU vs. UMASS/SIU
Team matchups are dependent upon who wins or loses Thursday’s games.
The University of Nevada, Reno returns four of its top five scorers in seniors Caleb Martin, Jordan Caroline, Cody Martin and Lindsey Drew 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’s record. Head coach Eric Musselman, the 2018 Mountain West Coach of the Year, returns for his fourth season leading the Wolf Pack as well. UNR became the second Mountain West 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 Mountain West school to win three consecutive outright regular-season titles in 2018-2019.
The University of 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, setting career highs in nearly every offensive category a season ago. The returning cast also includes six-foot-eight junior forward Martins Igbanu and six-foot-five senior wing DaQuan Jeffries. In all, the team brings back 56.3-percent of its offense from the 2017-2018 campaign. The Golden Hurricane will receive a boost from six-foot-seven sophomore forward Jeriah Horne, who sat out last season after transferring into the program.
Southern Illinois University 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. Sean Lloyd Jr. and Kavion Pippen are two of SIU’s six seniors in the 2018-2019 season, both earning postseason awards from the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) 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 2016-2017. SIU is coming off a second-place finish in the MVC, the best conference finish for the program since 2006-2007.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst and Head Coach Matt McCall return six players, adding 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 more than 20 points per game to join the likes of former UMASS stars Julius Erving and Marcus Camby, 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 more than 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.
FS1 will present coverage of four 2018 Continental Tire Las Vegas Holiday Invitational games played at Orleans Arena, televising two opening-round games on Thursday, Nov. 22, and the championship and consolation games on Friday, Nov. 23.
Two-day packages are available from $50, plus taxes and fees, and can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000; online at www.orleansarena.com; or in-person at the gift shops inside The Orleans, Suncoast, Gold Coast and Sam’s Town. Tickets may also be purchased the day of the game (depending on availability) at the venue box office.
About Orleans Arena
The Orleans Arena, a Boyd Gaming facility located just west of the Las Vegas Strip, is one of the nation’s leading multi-purpose sports and entertainment facilities and the 2014 recipient of the Venue Excellence Award from the International Association of Venue Managers. In addition, the Orleans Arena is one of only a handful of arenas in the United States to achieve LEED Gold Certification and is part of the largest company in Nevada to achieve SHARP Certification for commitments to safe venue operations. According to Venues Today magazine, the Orleans Arena, which hosts more than 200 events each year, consistently ranks in the Top 10 for ticket sales in the United States and internationally among venues of similar size. These events include nationally touring concerts, NCAA basketball conference tournaments, family shows, motorsports and other unique events. For more information, call 702-365-7469 or visit www.OrleansArena.com. Stay connected to the Orleans Arena on Facebook and on Twitter. The Orleans Arena is a property of Boyd Gaming. Founded in 1975, Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE: BYD) is a leading geographically diversified operator of 29 gaming entertainment properties in 10 states. With one of the most experienced leadership teams in the casino industry, Boyd Gaming prides itself on offering its guests an outstanding entertainment experience, delivered with unwavering attention to customer service. For additional Company information and press releases, visit www.boydgaming.com.