LAS VEGAS – UK HealthCare’s Markey Cancer Center will be nationally recognized when Kentucky plays Utah on December 18 at T-Mobile Arena. The seventh-annual event in Las Vegas benefits Coaches vs. Cancer, an initiative spearheaded by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (www.nabc.com) and the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org), and is managed by Lexington-based sports marketing firm bdG Sports.
“Being a presenting sponsor of this event provides us the opportunity to showcase and honor one of our other nationally-ranked Kentucky teams — the UK Markey Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer program in the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Mark Newman, UK executive vice president for health affairs.
Funds raised by Coaches vs. Cancer directly benefit American Cancer Society’s research programs. ACS is currently funding 10 grants in Kentucky totaling more than $4 million, including more than $2.8 million with the University of Kentucky Research Foundation. In addition to research, ACS locally provides education on cancer prevention and early detection, free rides to treatment through “Road to Recovery” and free/reduced lodging for those in treatment through Hope Lodge Lexington and hotel partners across the state.
“We’re so grateful to our friends at UK HealthCare’s Markey Cancer Center for their partnership with the American Cancer Society in the fight against cancer,” said Erica Kellem Beasley, American Cancer Society executive director for Kentucky. “Their support of Coaches vs. Cancer helps to further raise awareness and funds for this important initiative that impacts so many lives.”
Kentucky, 6-1 on the season and ranked No. 8 nationally, will head west for an extended trip. After the Utah game, the Wildcats will play top-10 foe Ohio State three days later also at T-Mobile Arena. Utah currently sports a 6-2 record but owns wins over Minnesota and BYU in the past two weeks. Tip-off for the game in Vegas is set for 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT.
“We are excited to welcome UK HealthCare as a partner as we support Coaches vs. Cancer and the American Cancer Society,” said Brooks Downing, CEO of bdG Sports. “This event has grown into such a tremendous platform to showcase the best in college basketball under the Coaches vs. Cancer banner. As a Kentuckian, I am honored that we can now showcase the great work being done at the Markey Cancer Center as well.”
Kentucky and Utah have a long history in the sport, dating back to the 1944 NIT. Between 1993 and 2005, the teams met in the NCAA Tournament six times, with Kentucky winning all six games. In 1998, the “Comeback Cats” rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to beat the Utes in the NCAA Championship game. Last year, UK beat Utah 88-61 at Rupp Arena.
In addition to the game, Coaches vs. Cancer will be a beneficiary of GolfBlue on Friday, Dec. 20 at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. The famed course, which played host to “The Match” between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson a year ago, will be provide a challenge for golfers traveling in from the Bluegrass and local sponsors. Foursomes and individual playing positions are still available with information on www.bbnvegas.com or by emailing email@example.com.
Tickets can be purchased at AXS.com, t-mobilearena.com or by calling 888-9AXS-TIX. For complete information, visit www.neonhoopsvegas.com or on social media at @NeonHoopsLV. Kentucky fans can also visit www.bbnvegas.com or follow @BBNLasVegas for full info on the week’s events.