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GS Men's hoops to play in early season tournament

    ESTERO, Fla. – The Georgia Southern men's basketball team will compete in the 2017 Gulf Coast Showcase, the annual men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments played each Thanksgiving at Germain Arena.
    The men’s tournament will be held Nov. 20-22, the Monday through Wednesday of Thanksgiving week. The Eagles face Missouri State Nov. 20, at 1:30 p.m. in their opening game of the championship-format tournament. The rest of the field is comprised of UMKC, Manhattan, Penn, Northern Illinois, Towson and FAU, which is coached by GS Hall of Famer Michael Curry.
    Missouri State returns four starters from last year’s 17-16 squad, while GS returns all five starters and eight student-athletes in the rotation to the 2017-18 roster. The Eagles went 18-15 overall and 11-7 in the Sun Belt record and played in the postseason for the first time since 2006. It will be the second time the Eagles and Bears have met on the hardwood.
    “We are excited to play a tournament format in November,” said Georgia Southern coach Mark Byington. “We hope that it will help us get ready for the Sun Belt tournament in March. We have an extremely tough challenge right away with Missouri State. They will be one of the best teams in the Missouri Valley, return almost their entire team and have added some good junior college players and fifth-year transfers. They will compete for a championship in the Missouri Valley conference.”
    Game times for Tuesday and Wednesday will be the same with semifinal games Nov. 21 at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday’s championship game will tip at 7:30 p.m.
    The Eagles also host a game on campus as part of the tournament and will play Bluefield State in Hanner Fieldhouse Nov. 16.
    For the third consecutive year, the tournament will support the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. The hospital is the only children’s hospital between Tampa and Miami and provides vital health care for the region’s sick and injured children and their families. The hospital recently completed a $242 million facility that provides 300,000 square feet of space, 128 pediatric and NICU beds with space to expand to 160 beds, a 17-bay emergency department, a freestanding pediatric pharmacy and in-hospital school classroom.
    Tickets for the 2017 Gulf Coast Showcase go on public sale on Monday, Aug. 28 at 10 a.m. at or through Ticketmaster. All-Tournament passes for either the men’s tournament or women’s tournament are available for $74, $99 or $149 per tournament. Single-session tickets, ranging from $10 General Admission to $45 Courtside for each two-game session, will go on-sale later this summer. Each day of the tournament will feature an afternoon session (starting at 11 a.m.) and evening session (5 p.m.) and tickets will be good for both games of a given session.
    Fan travel information, including preferred hotel rates at Hyatt Regency Coconut Point, is available on