Home CollegeSLU Billikens Billikens to Play in 2021 Cancun Challenge

Billikens to Play in 2021 Cancun Challenge

by Brian Kunderman

Saint Louis will take part in the 2021 Cancun Challenge, which will be held Nov. 23-24 at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.

The Billikens’ first matchup in Mexico will be against Illinois State at 7:30 p.m. (CT) on Tuesday, Nov. 23. SLU will then face either Buffalo or Stephen F. Austin the following evening, Wednesday, Nov. 24. Both games played in Mexico will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.

Saint Louis will also host Mercer at Chaifetz Arena on Saturday, Nov. 20, as part of the exempt tournament.

The Billikens’ two games in Mexico will be played in a modified ballroom at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. All teams and their fans stay on the property. Seating is limited for the event, and all fans should book land travel packages through Triple Crown Sports for admission into games in Mexico. Travel packages are the only way to guarantee admission to games at this time. For travel package information, contact Sarah Molina at 970-672-0533 (sarah@triplecrownsports.comor visit the tournament website at www.cancunchallenge.net.

Saint Louis’ full nonconference schedule will be released at a later date. The Billiken Ticket Office is currently taking season-ticket deposits for the 2021-22 season. The Billikens will play 19 home dates at Chaifetz Arena. The season opener, which will be played at home, is set for Tuesday, Nov. 9.

This is the Billikens’ second time participating in the Cancun Challenge, and their third time playing in a tournament on the Yucatan Peninsula. SLU went 3-1 in the 2013 Cancun Challenge and 1-2 in the 2010 Cancun Governor’s Cup.

ABOUT THE SLU OPPONENTS IN THE CANCUN CHALLENGE

The Mercer Bears finished 18-11 last season and 8-9 in the Southern Conference, advancing to the SoCon Championship game. Mercer has added four newcomers to its roster, including transfers Shawn Walker Jr. (George Washington) and Jalen Johnson (Tennessee and Wake Forest).

The Illinois State Redbirds went 7-18 and 4-12 in the Missouri Valley Conference a season ago. ISU has added four college transfers to its roster for 2021-22.

Buffalo went 16-9 last year (12-5 in the Mid-American Conference). The Bulls advanced to the MAC Championship game and played in the postseason NIT. The Buffalo bench features two former Billiken assistant coaches – head coach Jim Whitesell (at SLU from 2011-13) and assistant coach Angres Thorpe (at SLU from 2002-08). Among Buffalo’s newcomers is George Washington transfer Maceo Jack.

The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks were 16-5 and 12-3 in the Southland Conference a season ago. They would have been the No. 4 seed in their conference tournament, but they were banned from the postseason due to low APR scores. SFA is now a member of the Western Athletic Conference.

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