RICHMOND, Ky. – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team will be spending part of November on the pristine beaches of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, it was announced on Thursday, July 14.
The Colonels are one of eight teams selected to compete in the 2016 Cancun Challenge, played at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in Mexico just before the Thanksgiving holiday, November 22-23.
“We are thrilled to be participating in the 2016 Cancun Challenge,” EKU coach Dan McHale said. “This is a great experience for my student-athletes and our loyal fanbase, and it will bring great exposure to the program. We would love for all our fans to join us as we play great competition and enjoy the experience of an all-inclusive beach venue where the games are played in the Hard Rock Hotel.”
EKU is part of the Mayan Division, along with Georgia State (Sun Belt), Idaho State (Big Sky) and the New Jersey Institute of Technology (Atlantic Sun). All four teams are making their first-ever appearance in the Cancun Challenge.
The Riviera Division consists of Auburn (SEC), Purdue (Big Ten), Texas Tech (Big 12) and Utah State (Mountain West).
The tournament will feature games both in the United States and in Mexico. All of EKU’s Mayan Division games at the Hard Rock will be live streamed via YouTube.
Below is a schedule of EKU’s games in the 2016 Cancun Challenge:
Games in the U.S. Thursday, Nov. 17 EKU at Auburn Saturday, Nov. 19 EKU at Texas Tech Games in Mexico Tuesday, Nov. 22 Mayan Division NJIT vs. Georgia State Idaho State vs. EKU Wednesday, Nov. 23 Mayan Third Place Game Mayan Championship Game
Ranked as one of the top preseason college tournaments by Sports Illustrated, the Cancun Challenge offers teams and fans opportunities and experiences they’ll never forget. The resort’s convention center ballroom is converted into a one-of-a-kind arena that allows fans an up-close and personal view of their favorite teams. The all-inclusive experience at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya gives teams and fans access to games, practices, unlimited dining and drinks, world-class entertainment, and fun from the time they arrive until the time they leave. Located just off the azure waters of the Caribbean Sea, the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya offers the ultimate vacation for guests of all ages with both the adults-only and family friendly resort experiences. With a combined 1,264 ultra-posh and lavishly appointed guestrooms boasting a balcony, terrace views or new, expansive sky terrace options with picturesque views, hydro tubs in each room, world-class shopping and endless style, Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya is nothing short of the ultimate crowd-pleaser. Complete with expansive outdoor pools and private beach, this all-inclusive escape offers nine world-class restaurants and eight bars and lounges.
McHale’s up-tempo Colonels ranked 18th in the country in scoring offense (80.5 points-per-game) and broke the EKU single-season field goal percentage record (49.1 percent) in 2015-16.
EKU is also scheduled to play in the 2018 U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam in St. Thomas.