Bulldogs To Face Dayton In Maui Invitational Opener - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Bulldogs To Face Dayton In Maui Invitational Opener

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Courtesy Gonzaga Athletics

Gonzaga University's men's basketball team will face the University of Dayton in the nightcap of the Championship Round of the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational Nov. 25 at the Lahaina Civic Center in Maui as the bracket for the 30th annual edition of Basketball in Paradise was announced Wednesday.

            The Bulldogs and Flyers will be meeting for the first time on the hardwood when the two battle at 9 p.m. PT (7 p.m. Hawaiian Time) on ESPN2. Gonzaga is in the same half of the bracket as host Chaminade University which will face Baylor University at 6:30 p.m. PT (4:30 p.m. HT). A Gonzaga win pits the Bulldogs against the Chaminade-Baylor winner Nov. 26 at 6:30 p.m. PT (4:30 p.m. HT) while a Bulldog loss drops them into a 1:30 p.m. PT (11:30 a.m. HT) contest against the Chaminade-Baylor loser.

            Other Championship Round openers have the University of California facing the University of Arkansas and Syracuse University battling the University of Minnesota.

            The eight Island Teams will be joined in the Opening Games by four newly announced Mainland Teams – Coastal Carolina University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Oakland University and St. Francis Brooklyn. The Mainland teams will face off against Island Teams in the Opening Games from November 15-19, including Oakland University of Rochester, Mich., against Gonzaga in the McCarthey Athletic Center Nov. 17.

            ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will offer live, high-definition television coverage of all 12 Championship Round games. Games will also be broadcast live on the WatchESPN mobile app and WatchESPN.com.

            This year's field has combined for 132 NCAA Tournament appearances, 79 conference championships, 18 Final Fours and three national championships. Four of this year's participants – Syracuse, Gonzaga, California and Minnesota - won NCAA Tournament games in 2013 and Syracuse earned its fifth Final Four appearance by winning the East Regional. Additionally, Baylor won the 2013 NIT Championship.

            "We are excited to have such an outstanding field for the 30th annual EA SPORTS Maui Invitational," said Dave Odom, Tournament Chairman. "All eight teams have high expectations this year, and we look forward to once again seeing the best early-season tournament competition   in Maui."

            Gonzaga will be making its fourth appearance in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational, the Bulldogs winning the Wayne Duke Championship Trophy in their last appearance in 2009. The Zags downed the University of Colorado 76-72, the University of Wisconsin 74-61 and the University of Cincinnati 61-59 in overtime to claim the title. Gonzaga's Steven Gray and Matt Bouldin shared MVP honors.

            In 2005 Gonzaga defeated 23rd-ranked University of Maryland 88-76, 12th-ranked Michigan State University 109-106 in triple overtime and fell to third-ranked University of Connecticut 65-63 in the title game. The Gonzaga-Michigan State game is still considered one of the greatest games in the history of the event.

            The first appearance in the tournament for Gonzaga was 2002 when the Bulldogs defeated the University of Utah 71-52 and lost to 19th-ranked Indiana University 76-75 and 15th-ranked University of Kentucky 80-72.

            Dayton was 17-14 a year ago, 7-9 in the Atlantic 10 Conference and dropped an opening-round game in the Atlanta 10 Tournament to Butler University. Senior guard Vee Stanford is one of the top returnees for the Flyers, averaging 12.3 ppg to rank 23rd in Atlantic 10 scoring. Senior forward Devin Oliver ranked fifth in the Atlantic 10 in rebounding at 7.8 rpg and paced the Flyers with seven double-doubles last season. Dayton is coached by Archie Miller in his third season. He joined the Flyers from the University of Arizona where he was the Associate Head Coach of the Wildcats under his brother, Sean.

            Gonzaga and Oakland will also be meeting for the first time. The Grizzlies are led by Travis Bader who enters his senior season with 357 3-pointers, needing 101 to break the NCAA record of 457 held by Duke University's J.J. Redick. Bader connected on 139 treys this past season. Oakland is coached by Greg Kampe, entering his 30th season as the Grizzlies move to the Horizon League this year. Oakland won the 2011 Summit League title.

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