May 9, 2013
Columbia, Mo. - Missouri Basketball joins UCLA, Northwestern and Nevada as participants in the 2013 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational, held Nov. 28-29 in the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
As part of the event Missouri will host two home games at Mizzou Arena and will then travel to Las Vegas for games against Northwestern and Nevada. The tournament will be hosted as a “Classic” with Mizzou and UCLA scheduled to finish a home and home series at Mizzou Arena next season.
Missouri's home opponents for the first two rounds of the Invitational will be announced by tournament organizers at a later date. Teams making up the rest of the Las Vegas Invitational field include: the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis (IUPUI), Morehead State (Ky.) and Gardner Webb University (NC).
Tickets for the final two rounds of the Las Vegas Invitational will be available at the Orleans Arena box office beginning at 10 a.m. CT on Friday (May 10). Fans may also purchase tickets over the phone (1-888-234-2334) and via the internet at OrleansArena.com.
Tickets for each of Missouri's four games in the Las Vegas Invitational may also be purchased this fall through the Mizzou Athletics Ticket Office by calling 1-800-CAT-PAWS (884-PAWS in Mid-Missouri) or online at mutigers.com.
Missouri was 23-11 last season, including a perfect 17-0 record at Mizzou Arena. The Tigers advanced to their fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament, the longest active streak in the SEC. Mizzou will be led into next season by returners Jabari Brown (13.7 ppg) and senior Earnest Ross (10.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg). Joining Brown in the backcourt will be 6-foot-5 transfer Jordan Clarkson, who earned first team All-Conference USA honors at Tulsa in 2011-12 while averaging 14.2 points during his two seasons with the Golden Hurricane. Missouri also welcomes a nationally-ranked recruiting class for next season.
Four starters return for Northwestern in 2013-14, under the direction of new head coach Chris Collins. Collins spent 13 seasons on the coaching staff at Duke, including the last five as associate head coach. Redshirt senior Drew Crawford, who earned third team All-Big Ten honors in 2011-12 while averaging 16.1 ppg, heads the list of 13 returning players. Junior point guard Dave Sobolewski, a 2011-12 selection to the Big Ten's All Freshman Team, also returns after averaging 9.8 ppg and 4.0 assists last season. Tre Demps (7.8 ppg), Alex Olah (6.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and Kale Abrahamson (4.9 ppg) lead a talented sophomore class for the Wildcats.
The University of Nevada will add a home state flavor to the 2013 Invitational. After a 28-7 season in 2011-12, Nevada slipped to 12-19 last year, their first in the Mountain West Conference. Senior point guard Deonte Burton, the team's co-MVP, returns to lead the Wolf Pack. The 6-1 Burton, who has started all 98 games in his career, averaged 16.3 ppg and 3.6 assists in 2012-13. He will be joined in the backcourt by senior Jerry Evans Jr. (7.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg). Fifth-year coach Dave Carter has also signed 6-6 guard D.J. Fenner, the state of Washington's player of the year who averaged 27 points a game as a senior.
UCLA returns a strong nucleus in 2013-13, including senior forwards Travis Wear (10.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and David Wear (7.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg), junior guard Norman Powell (6.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg) and sophomore guards Jordan Adams (15.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg) and Kyle Anderson (9.7 ppg, 8.6 rpg). UCLA finished last year with a 25-10 overall record, going 13-5 in the Pac-12. The Bruins lost to Minnesota in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Always one of the top early season tournaments of the college basketball season, the past champions of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational include: 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. The 2012 tourney was won by No. 21 Creighton, who defeated Arizona State 87-73 in the championship game.
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