College basketball returns to downtown Phoenix with inaugural Colangelo Classic

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

College basketball returns to downtown Phoenix this season with the first-ever Jerry Colangelo Classic set to tip off on Dec. 9. 

The one day doubleheader will feature Tennessee vs Gonzaga in the first game with Nevada taking on Grand Canyon in the nightcap. The event will be presented by Citi and put on by the Basketball Hall of Fame.  

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"I’m very excited to be hosting a collegiate basketball event with the Basketball Hall of Fame in the beautiful city I call home,” said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

“Talking Stick Resort Arena, home of the Phoenix Suns, is a fantastic venue and we hope the fans will take the time to explore Phoenix and all the city has to offer.”

GCU will be playing in the NBA arena where their coach Dan Majerle starred for a second straight season. Lopes fans will only have to travel eight miles to see their team.

“Playing an opponent like Nevada will only make us better, so we’re excited to be a part of the Jerry Colangelo Classic. Mr. Colangelo has been a big part of my life. He is a huge part of this university," said Majlerle. 

"To be able to play in an event named after him is a great honor for GCU. It will be a great experience for our kids to play where the Suns play, and it’s always great to go back to a building where I have so many special memories.” 

Gonzaga returns to the Valley of the Sun for the first time since playing in the National Title game in Glendale in 2015.

“Coach Barnes has done another phenomenal job of building Tennessee back to a national power like he has done at all his other previous schools," said Gonzaga Coach Mark Few.  "We are looking forward to playing in a high-level nationally-relevant game in a city where our program has some great memories. Personally, it will be a very special experience honoring a great man, and a friend, in Jerry Colangelo.” 

Nevada comes to town fresh off an magical run to the Sweet 16 where they lost to Loyola Chicago. The Wolfpack are lead by former ASU Assistant Coach Eric Musselman.

“We feel this is a great opportunity to play in another NBA arena, which is an environment similar to what you would experience in an NCAA tournament setting. Coach Dan Majerle has done a great job at Grand Canyon, as they are one of the power programs in the WA," said Musselman. "His teams always play with tremendous passion and do a great job of executing on both ends. We know that playing in Phoenix will not be a neutral site due to Grand Canyon having such phenomenal fan support. It will be an extremely challenging game.” 

Tickets for the Jerry Colangelo Classic will go on-sale to the general public on May 29 at 10:00 a.m. PT via all Ticketmaster locations and the Talking Stick Resort Arena box office. Game times and television broadcast information will be released at a later date.

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