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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State men’s basketball team will open its 2018-19 season with two home games in the Bryce Jordan Center as part of the 11th annual Cancun Challenge. The Nittany Lions will play host to North Florida Friday, Nov. 9, and Jacksonville State, Monday, Nov. 12.
The eight-team tournament begins with seven games in the United States between the teams in the Mayan Division -- Jacksonville State, North Florida, Southern Miss and Western Carolina -- and the Riviera Division, which includes Penn State, Bradley, SMU and Wright State.
At the Hotel Riviera Maya in Cancun, Mexico, Penn State will face Wright State in the 8:30 p.m. ET game on Tuesday, Nov. 20 following the contest between Bradley and SMU. The Wednesday, Nov. 21 games will feature the matchups between the Riviera Division bracket winners and losers with the games tipping off at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. ET.
Both of Penn State’s games in Cancun will be televised by CBS Sports Network. Tip times and network designations for the two November games in the Bryce Jordan Center will be announced at a later date.
“Last year our team traveled to the Bahamas for our foreign tour trip, and this year, we have the opportunity to be a part of the Cancun Challenge,” said Coach Patrick Chambers. “Having two games in the Bryce Jordan Center is a great way to open our 2018-19 season, and then going to the resort to play in this location will give our guys another extraordinary experience.”
This is the first trip for Penn State men’s basketball to Cancun, Mexico, and the first-ever meetings for the Nittany Lions versus North Florida and Jacksonville State in men’s basketball.
In the only previous contest between the Penn State and Wright State, the Nittany Lions came away with a 72-50 win in December 2016. Penn State and SMU played games in three-straight years in the early 1980s with the 2-1 advantage going to the Nittany Lions. Bradley has won three games in the five meetings between the Braves and Nittany Lions, with the last contest played in 1998.
A special travel package for Nittany Lion fans to join the team in Cancun is available through the Cancun Challenge website (LINK: https://www.cancunchallenge.net/packages.html).
Seven of Penn State’s 2018-19 non-conference games are set with six in November – including the four Cancun Challenge games -- and one in December.
In addition to the four games affiliated with the Cancun Challenge, including two at home in early November, Penn State will travel to DePaul for a Thursday, Nov. 15 game as part of the 2018 Gavitt Tipoff Games. The Bryce Jordan Center will play host to Virginia Tech on Tuesday, Nov. 27 for this year’s edition of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
The Basketball Hall of Fame’s inaugural Boardwalk Classic will feature Penn State versus N.C. State on Saturday, Dec. 15 in Atlantic City, N.J.
For information or to make a 2018-19 Penn State men's basketball season ticket deposit, fans should go to GoPSUsports.com/climbwithus or call 1-800-NITTANY, weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
2018 Men’s Cancun Challenge Schedule:
Wednesday, Nov. 7
Western Carolina at Wright State
Friday, Nov. 9
North Florida at Penn State
Sunday, Nov. 11
Southern Miss at SMU
Monday, Nov. 12
Jacksonville State at Penn State
Wednesday, Nov. 14
Western Carolina at SMU
Jacksonville State at Bradley
Saturday, Nov. 17
North Florida at Wright State
Cancun Challenge at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya (all times Cancun/Eastern Time):
Tuesday, Nov. 20
Game 1: Western Carolina vs. Jacksonville State, 12:30 p.m.
Game 2: North Florida vs. Southern Miss, 3 p.m.
Game 3: Bradley vs. SMU, 6 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
Game 4: Wright State vs. Penn State, 8:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
Wednesday, Nov. 21
Game 1/Game 2 losers, 12:30 p.m.
Game 1/Game 2 winners, 3 p.m.
Game 3/Game 4 losers. 6 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
Game 3/Game 4 winners, 8:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)