ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s basketball team plays its first of three remaining home games on Saturday night, Feb. 14, in Alumni Gym when the Phoenix hosts the Dukes of James Madison. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. Fans can watch the game live on Phoenix All-Access.
ELON VS. JMU: Elon and James Madison are meeting for the third time ever on Saturday, but it is the first contest between the two schools at Alumni Gym. JMU has won both of the previous meetings, including a 75-72 decision on Jan. 17 in Harrisonburg, which came down to the final possession of the game. Austin Hamilton’s potential game-tying three as the buzzer sounded misfired, allowing the Dukes to escape with the win. Tanner Samson nailed five threes and finished with 18 points in the setback, while Hamilton and Kevin Blake added 11 and 10, respectively. The first meeting between the two schools was Nov. 29, 1975, in Harrisonburg when the Dukes claimed a 104-94 win.
ON VALENTINE’S DAY: Elon has played a total of 18 games on Valentine’s Day in its history, posting a 9-9 record. Elon’s last Valentine’s Day game was Feb. 14, 2013, at Alumni Gym when the Phoenix rallied for a 61-58 win over Appalachian State.
BEYOND THE ARC: Tanner Samson needs one more three to tie Jack Isenbarger’s single-season record of 82 set in 2012-13. Samson leads the CAA with 81 threes (fifth nationally) and three-point attempts with 225 (third nationally). Samson currently sits at 220 career triples, good for fourth in program history. He trails Sebastian Koch (242), Chris Kiger (259) and Isenbarger (264) on the career chart.
HOME SWEET HOME: Over the last four years, Elon has a 37-16 record (18-5 vs. non-conference teams) inside Alumni Gym. Elon has sold out Alumni Gym 14 times under head coach Matt Matheny, with its most recent sellout coming Jan. 24, 2015, vs. Delaware. Elon is 10-4 when Alumni Gym is sold out.
AHEAD AT THE HALF: Elon has been in the lead at halftime nine times this season and has won eight of those contests. Conversely, the Phoenix is 3-14 when trailing at intermission.
ELON IN FEBRUARY: Going into Saturday’s game against James Madison, Elon has a 24-21 mark in the month of February under head coach Matt Matheny. Last year, Elon went 7-1 in February.
SENIOR CLASS: Elon’s senior class of Austin Hamilton, Kevin Blake and Ryan Winters have posted a total of 65 wins – the second most by a senior class during Elon’s Division I era. Last year’s senior class of Ryley Beaumont, Jack Isenbarger, Sebastian Koch, Lucas Troutman and Egheosa Edomwonyi finished with 68 wins over four years.
287 AND COUNTING: The Elon men’s basketball program has made at least one three-point field goal in 287 consecutive games. The last time Elon did not make a three in a game was Jan. 30, 2006, at Georgia Southern when the team went 0-of-14 from deep.
FIRST-YEAR SUCCESS: Rookie guard Elijah Bryant is leading all CAA freshmen in scoring at 13.7 points per game. Bryant has been tabbed CAA Rookie of the Week four times this season and garnered player of the week honors once. He has 20 double-digit efforts in 26 games. In CAA games, Bryant is averaging 14.8 points per contest.
GETTING DEFENSIVE: Elon has forced at least 12 turnovers in 23 of its 26 games this season. Elon forced a season-high 21 turnovers against Charlotte on Nov. 16. The Phoenix forced 19 turnovers on Jan. 3 at Drexel, the most against a league opponent this season.
40-PERCENT MARK: Elon has an 11-6 record this season when it shoots 40+ percent from the floor. The Phoenix is 0-9 when it shoots below 40 percent.
READY FOR LIFTOFF: When it’s all said and done, the Phoenix will have traveled a total of 17,415 miles on the road this season via flight and bus. Elon’s longest trip was a 5,764-mile round-trip to Cancun, Mexico. The team’s shortest trip was a 44-mile round-trip to the Greensboro Coliseum.
HEAD COACH MATT MATHENY: The 2014-15 season marks the sixth year at Elon for head coach Matt Matheny. Matheny enters Saturday’s game with a career record of 88-97. Matheny was voted by the Southern Conference media as the Coach of the Year in 2012-13 and was a finalist for CollegeInsider.com’s Hugh Durham award, which honors the nation’s top mid-major coach.
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.