Macon’s Mercer University and Sun Belt Conference members South Alabama and James Madison are among the men’s basketball teams competing in the new Hostillo Hoops Community Classic on Thanksgiving week in Savannah.
Enmarket Arena will host the college tournaments for women’s and men’s teams on Nov. 21-27. The event was officially announced Monday through OVG360, a division of Oak View Group which operates the new arena, and Fastlane, a New York City-based marketing and communications agency.
The event brings NCAA Division I basketball back to the Coastal Empire after a five-year absence. The Hostess City had previously hosted the Savannah Invitational, an NCAA Division I women’s and men’s tournament at the Savannah Civic Center in 2016 and ’17.
Some details about the basketball tournament, which includes sponsorship from the Savannah Sports Council, had been previously announced. It was reported in August that men’s teams from Georgia and Xavier, a strong national program in Cincinnati, Ohio, have verbally committed to the second annual tournament in 2023.
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Chris Spencer, who is managing and promoting the event as part of Fastlane, said he was thrilled to work with Enmarket Arena to bring the event to Savannah.
“The city of Savannah is a growing, fun and vibrant location that basketball programs from around the country are going to be excited to travel to and compete in, both this year and into the future,” Spencer said in a press release.
The women’s tournament starts on Monday, Nov. 21 and ends Wednesday, Nov. 23. The women’s teams are Marshall of the Sun Belt, Norfolk State, Purdue-Fort Wayne, Tennessee-Martin, Fairleigh Dickinson, Austin Peay, Illinois-Chicago and Davidson College.
The men’s tournament is Friday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Nov. 27. The schools participating are James Madison (with former Georgia Southern head coach Mark Byington at the helm), South Alabama, Mercer, Valparaiso, South Dakota State, Towson, Evansville and Robert Morris.
“We’re excited to be partnering with Fastlane on this endeavor, as well as our local partner, The Mike Hostilo Law Firm, who has always had a strong presence locally in Savannah,” Enmarket Arena General Manager Monty Jones, Jr. said in a press release. “We think bringing this tournament to Savannah annually is going to be a slam dunk.”
Attorney Mike Hostillo said he was honored to be part of the inaugural Hostilo Hoops Community Classic.
“Growing up playing sports and watching sports, I am excited to watch Savannah come together for community and some friendly competition on the court,” Hostillo said in the press release.
Single-day tickets are on sale starting Friday, Sept. 23. General-admission ticket prices will start at $15 for students and children, and $25 for adults. Reserved and club seating will also be available starting at $40. Group packages will also be available for groups of nine or more at a discounted rate. Tickets can be purchased online at Enmarketarena.com, Ticketmaster.com or at the Enmarket Arena ticket office.
For more tournament information, visit enmarketarena.com/HHCClassic.
Nathan Dominitz is the Sports Content Editor of the Savannah Morning News and savannahnow.com. Email him at email@example.com. Twitter: @NathanDominitz