Elon Men’s Basketball Opens Season on Friday Against FAU

Posted by Press Release on November 12, 2014 at 3:37 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. – The 2014-15 season officially tips on Friday night, Nov. 14, in Alumni Gym when the Elon University men’s basketball team hosts Florida Atlantic. Tip is scheduled for 8 p.m. and the game will follow the Phoenix women’s games vs. Anderson. Admission to the game is $15 for adults and $7 for youth 12 and under (available on game day at ticket office).

Friday’s game will be televised on the American Sports Network (ASN), the first ever college basketball game to air on the network. Mike Gleason and Tim Scarborough will have the call. Keep an eye on elonphoenix.com for TV clearances and where the game will be broadcasted in your area.

Fans can listen to the game live on WPCM 95.1 FM/920 AM with Taylor Durham and John Roddey on the call from courtside.

ELON VS. FAU: Friday night marks the third all-time meeting between the Phoenix and Owls. Elon has won the previous two meetings, including last year’s 67-62 victory in Boca Raton, Fla. The two teams first met in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational “Maui on the Mainland” tournament in Alumni Gym on Nov. 18, 2012. Elon came away with a 62-59 overtime decision over the Owls, winning the Maui on the Mainland title.

JESSE BRANSON NIGHT: The Elon University Department of Athletics will honor the late former men’s basketball standout Jesse Branson on Friday night, Nov. 14, when the Phoenix takes on Florida Atlantic at 8 p.m. in Alumni Gym. The first 1,000 fans will receive a free Jesse Branson throwback t-shirt jersey and special game programs will be given out to everyone in attendance. Prior to the game, Elon will honor Branson’s career with a special video board tribute, as well.

SEASON OPENERS: Elon is 60-41 all-time in season openers, including 5-10 during the school’s Division I era. Last year, Elon claimed a 114-62 victory over Washington & Lee in its season opener in Alumni Gym. This season marks only the third time under head coach Matt Matheny the Phoenix has opened the season at home.

LOOKING BACK: Elon improved to 7-0 in exhibition games under head coach Matt Matheny following a 90-50 win over Emory & Henry on Nov. 7. Five players scored in double figures in the win, including a team-high 14 points from rookie Dmitri Thompson. Elon forced 28 turnovers by E&H in the victory, ending the night with 16 steals.

LOOKING AHEAD: Elon has a quick turnaround following Friday’s game vs. FAU, as the Phoenix welcomes instate foe Charlotte to Alumni Gym on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 5:30 p.m. Sunday’s game against the 49ers will be broadcasted live on ASN.

HOME SLATE: Phoenix fans have only five chances to see men’s basketball action in Alumni Gym before the end of the calendar year. Following this weekend’s games against FAU and Charlotte, Elon has just three remaining home games in 2014 – Virginia University of Lynchburg (Dec. 2), Central Pennsylvania (Dec. 7) and Marist (Dec. 28).

ANOTHER ELITE TOURNAMENT: Elon will participate in one of the nation’s top tournaments to begin the season, as the Phoenix travels to Mexico for the Cancun Challenge this season. Elon will face Morgan State on Nov. 25 in Cancun before taking on Liberty or North Florida a day later. Elon’s games at Northwestern (Nov. 22) and Miami (Nov. 30) are also a part of the Cancun Challenge. Last season, the Phoenix competed in the NIT Season Tip-Off. In 2012-13, Elon was selected to participate in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational.

NEW LOOKS: The 2014-15 season marks one of newness for the maroon and gold. Elon begins its inaugural season in the Colonial Athletic Association this year. The Phoenix welcomes in five newcomers to the squad this year following the departure of four 1,000-point scorers in Jack Isenbarger, Lucas Troutman, Ryley Beaumont and Sebastian Koch. Elon will also don new uniforms this season.

PRESEASON PROGNOSTICATIONS: The CAA released its preseason men’s basketball poll on Oct. 21, as the league’s head coaches predicted the Phoenix to finish 10th in the league. Northeastern was picked as the preseason favorite while William & Mary’s Marcus Thornton earned nods as the preseason player of the year.

ELON ON THE BIG SCREEN: Elon will appear on television eight times this season, including four occasions in Alumni Gym. American Sports Network (ASN) will carry Elon’s home games against Florida Atlantic, Charlotte, William & Mary and Hofstra, in addition to road games at James Madison and Delaware. Elon’s game at Missouri on Dec. 11 will be broadcasted live on the SEC Network, while the Phoenix’s Dec. 15 matchup in Cameron Indoor Stadium vs. Duke will be carried on ESPNU.

A LOOK AT ELON: The Phoenix is coming off an 18-14 campaign in the Southern Conference under sixth-year head coach Matt Matheny. Elon welcomes back starters Austin Hamilton (6.2 ppg, 2.5 apg) and Tanner Samson (9.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg), while returning a total of 10 non-starters. Senior guard Kevin Blake (4.7 ppg) and senior forward Ryan Winters (3.0 ppg) join Hamilton to make up this year’s senior class. The Phoenix graduated one of the most decorated classes in school history, as four 1,000-point scorers depart in Lucas Troutman, Jack Isenbarger, Sebastian Koch and Ryley Beaumont. The team welcomes five newcomers to the squad this season, including Jack Anton (Fr., F, 6-8, 230, Cincinnati, Ohio), Elijah Bryant (Fr., G, 6-4, 225, Gwinnett, Ga.), Collin Luther (Fr., F, 6-6, 210, Pittsburgh, Pa.), Dmitri Thompson (Fr., G, 6-4, 195, Orlando, Fla.) and Jack George (Fr., F, 6-10, 210, Libertyville, Ill.).

STAFF ADDITIONS: J.B. Tanner was named Elon’s new director of men’s basketball operations on Sept. 4 following the promotion of Chris Long to assistant coach. Tanner spent the previous three seasons at UNCG at the team’s director of operations and is a 2009 graduate of North Carolina. Tanner helped the Tar Heels to a national title his senior season.

HEAD COACH MATT MATHENY: The 2014-15 season marks the sixth year at Elon for head coach Matt Matheny. Matheny enters this season with a career record of 77-82.

ROAD TO BALTIMORE: The 2015 CAA Men’s Basketball Championship is scheduled for March 6-9 in Baltimore, Md., at Royal Farms Arena. Last year, Delaware topped William & Mary, 75-74, in the championship game to earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

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