Florida Atlantic basketball will host an eight-team tournament this winter and opens tournament play against University of Illinois at Chicago

BOCA RATON — Tournament basketball is coming to Florida Atlantic University.

FAU will host the inaugural Boca Raton Beach Classic in early December, the university announced in a news release Wednesday. The tournament features eight men’s teams, including the hometown Owls, and will be held at Abessinio Court on Sunday, Dec. 1 and Monday, Dec. 2.

The other seven teams include Canisius College, College of the Holy Cross, Hofstra University, Mercer University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of San Diego and St. Bonaventure University.

“We are proud to partner with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and are looking forward to hosting seven quality basketball programs here in Boca Raton,” FAU coach Dusty May said.

“We know this means a lot to our university, and we couldn’t be happier for our alumni, fans and the community to have this tournament take place on our campus.”

Hoophall.com first reported the news Friday.

The eight schools will compete in two four-team brackets. FAU opens the tournament against UIC on Dec. 1. If FAU wins that game, it will face the winner of the San Diego-St. Bonaventure game in the Hall of Fame bracket’s championship game a day later.

FAU also hosts Holy Cross on Nov. 29 and Canisius on Dec. 4. The Owls have never played either school.

“We know our visitors to Paradise are in for a great experience,” FAU athletic director Brian White said. “We look forward to welcoming everyone to South Florida for what will be a wonderful tournament.”

We’re bringing a whole new meaning to #BasketballinParadise. 😎🌴

Introducing the inaugural Boca Raton Beach Classic presented by @Sportchanges.👏

➡️ https://t.co/cGvYv11E9M pic.twitter.com/ujGDwAbhQU

— FAU Men's Basketball (@FAU_Hoops) August 14, 2019

The tournament comes after FAU’s men’s basketball team’s resurgence last season. May led the Owls to a 17-16 record for their first winning campaign since 2010-11.

FAU lost in the first round of the College Insiders postseason tournament. It was the program’s first postseason national tournament appearance since the 2011 NIT.

FAU's Board of Trustees appointed a $3 million donation by Rocco and Mary Abessinio Foundation in June. The donation will cover renovations and enhancements to the arena, including revamped locker rooms.

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