ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s basketball team has a quick turnaround following its Friday night win over FAU, as the Phoenix welcomes instate foe Charlotte to Alumni Gym on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 5:30 p.m.
ELON VS. CHARLOTTE: Sunday marks the fourth all-time meeting between Elon and Charlotte. The 49ers have taken two out of three meetings, including last year’s 83-69 decision in the Queen City. Austin Hamilton led the Phoenix with 19 points in the setback, as Elon led by 12 points in the game before the Niners surged with a 17-2 run late in the second half to steal the win. Elon’s lone win over Charlotte was a 77-70 decision in the 1970 NAIA District 22 Tournament consolation game.
ELON VS. C-USA TEAMS: Elon is 4-6 against current Conference USA schools heading into Sunday’s game against Charlotte. The Phoenix is 3-0 vs. FAU following Friday’s victory, 1-2 against Charlotte, 0-1 vs. Old Dominion and 0-1 against Southern Mississippi.
LOOKING BACK: Tony Sabato scored a career-high 14 points and provided the spark the Phoenix needed in a 64-58 win over FAU on opening night on Nov. 14. Sabato knocked down 6-of-9 from the field and had a key tap-in late in the game that helped the Phoenix stave off the Owls late. Luke Eddy earned the start in the win, scoring 13 points. Tanner Samson and Elijah Bryant each scored 10 for Elon. The Phoenix locked down the Owls defensively in key stretches in the second session to help secure the win, as FAU went just 4-of-12 from the field in the final 8:52 of the game. The Owls missed seven straight field goal attempts during a five-minute span late, as well.
LOOKING AHEAD: Following Sunday’s game against Charlotte, the Phoenix makes the trek to Evanston, Ill., to begin play in the Cancun Challenge vs. Northwestern. After taking on Northwestern, Elon shuffles off to Cancun, Mexico, for two games against Morgan State (Nov. 24) and Liberty or North Florida (Nov. 25). Elon concludes the Cancun Challenge in Oxford, Ohio, on Nov. 30 against the Mid-American Conference’s Miami RedHawks.
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 Sunday’s game against Charlotte, Elon has just three remaining home games in 2014 – Virginia University of Lynchburg (Dec. 2), Central Pennsylvania (Dec. 7) and Marist (Dec. 28).
BEYOND THE ARC: With two triples against FAU on Friday, Nov. 14, Tanner Samson now sits at 141 in his career (ninth in school history). Samson needs 23 triples to pass TJ Douglas for eighth in school history. Jack Isenbarger ’14 ranks first in school history in career threes made with 264. Samson entered this season third all-time in Elon history in career three-point field goal percentage at 39.4 percent, trailing only Sebastian Koch (40.3%) and Steve Page (46.4%).
OUR HOUSE: Following Friday’s win over FAU at home, the Phoenix improved to 34-11 (76% winning percentage) in games played in Alumni Gym over the last four seasons.
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.
LEAGUE FIRST: Elon’s 64-58 victory over Florida Atlantic on Nov. 14 marked the first win of the 2014-15 season for the Colonial Athletic Association. Hofstra and College of Charleston also claimed wins on opening night for the CAA.
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.).
HEAD COACH MATT MATHENY: The 2014-15 season marks the sixth year at Elon for head coach Matt Matheny. Matheny enters Sunday’s game with a career record of 78-82.
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.