Elon and Davidson Men’s Basketball Set for Thursday Night Showdown

ELON, N.C. – The preseason Southern Conference favorites and the defending Southern Conference champions meet for the first time of the season on Thursday night, Jan. 16, as the Elon University men’s basketball team travels to Belk Arena to face the Davidson Wildcats. Tip is set for 7 p.m. Listen to the game live on WPCM 95.1 FM/920 AM with Taylor Durham and Jason Vonick on the call. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.

ELON VS. DAVIDSON: Thursday night marks the 50th all-time meeting between Elon and Davidson. The Wildcats lead the series, 37-12, and have won the last four meetings. Elon has a 5-18 record in games played at Davidson. Matt Matheny is 2-5 against Davidson, his alma mater. Elon’s last win over Davidson was Jan. 20, 2011, at Elon when the Phoenix came away with a 77-70 decision.

LAST MEETING: Elon and Davidson last met on Feb. 27, 2013, at Alumni Gym, as the Wildcats pulled away late to claim a 69-63 win. After Elon made it a one-point game with 2:23 remaining after a pair of Tanner Samson free throws, which came via a Davidson flagrant foul, the Wildcats went on a 7-0 run to take a 64-57 lead with under a minute left. During the stretch, Davidson knocked down 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Elon managed to pull within two points following a Jack Isenbarger triple with 17.9 seconds left, but the Wildcats kept chipping away at the free throw line with the Phoenix in a must-foul situation down the stretch and the shot clock off. In all, Davidson knocked down 19-of-28 at the charity stripe.

COMMON THREADS: There are several common ties between Elon and Davidson. Elon head coach Matt Matheny graduated from Davidson in 1992 after competing for the Wildcats in both football and basketball. Matheny was an assistant men’s basketball coach at Davidson from 1993-2003 before serving as the Cats’ associate head coach from 2003-09. Elon associate head coach Tim Sweeney was a member of the Davidson coaching staff from 2006-08. In four career games against Davidson as a player at Elon, assistant coach Monty Sanders averaged 6.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. He scored 17 against the Wildcats on March 2, 2009, his second highest point total during his career at Elon. Phoenix director of basketball operations Chris Long averaged 10.9 points per game in nine career games against Davidson, which included a 27-point performance on Feb. 24, 2011.

LOOKING BACK: Elon improved to 7-1 at home on Saturday, Jan. 11, following a 75-65 win over The Citadel in Alumni Gym. Lucas Troutman scored 19 points to go along with nine boards and two blocks. Sebastian Koch scored 14 points, all of which came in the first 20 minutes. Elon shot 40 percent from the field, despite going just 9-of-31 from beyond the arc.

LOOKING AHEAD: Following Thursday night’s game at Davidson, Elon returns home on Saturday, Jan. 18, for a White Out game versus 15/16th-ranked UMass. It marks the first time since moving to the Division I ranks that Elon has hosted a nationally ranked team in Alumni Gym.

HOME COOKING: Over the last three years, Elon has a 29-8 record inside the friendly confines of Alumni Gym. Elon has sold out Alumni Gym 10 times under head coach Matt Matheny, with Saturday’s game against #15/16 UMass being the most recent. Elon is off to a 7-1 start at home, which is its best start since the 1990-91 season when the team began 9-0 at home. Elon has won 14-of-16 inside Alumni Gym.

ELON IN SOCON PLAY: The Phoenix is in its 11th season as a member of the Southern Conference. Elon is 84-94 (including tournament action) against current members of the Southern Conference since the 2003-04 campaign. Elon went 13-5 against league foes during the regular season last year, winning the SoCon North Division title. Matt Matheny has a 36-39 record in SoCon play.

FROM LONG RANGE: Elon currently leads the Southern Conference in three-point field goal percentage at 39 percent and is tied for the league lead in threes made with 147. Sebastian Koch (51) and Tanner Samson (48) rank first and second in the league in threes made. The long-distance duo rank fourth and fifth in the league in three-point field goal percentage, respectively.

KOCH HONORED: Sebastian Koch scored a career-high 27 points at 21st-ranked Colorado on Dec. 13, and was named the Southern Conference Player of the Week on Dec. 17. Koch’s nine triples are the most in a single game during Elon’s Division I era. His 27 points mark the most by an Elon player since Jack Isenbarger’s 34-point performance against The Citadel on Feb. 4, 2012.

SAMSON HONORED: Tanner Samson was named the Southern Conference Player of the Week on Dec. 10 after scoring a career-high 23 points in an 87-70 win over VMI on Dec. 3. Samson connected on 5-of-8 from three-point land in the win and was 8-of-10 from the free-throw line. He added a career-best nine rebounds, three assists and three steals in 36 minutes against the Keydets.

MILESTONE WATCH: Both Sebastian Koch (974 points) and Ryley Beaumont (936 points) are in line to be the next Elon players to reach 1,000 career points. Elon currently has two players with over 1,000 career points in Lucas Troutman (1,396) and Jack Isenbarger (1,283). Troutman ranks 14th all-time and needs three points to pass Dewey Andrew for 13th all-time. Isenbarger ranks 17th all-time in scoring and needs 13 points to pass Ed Juratic for 16th all-time.

BLOCK PARTY: With two blocked shots against The Citadel on Jan. 11, Lucas Troutman extended his program-best career mark to 185 blocks. Troutman set Elon’s all-time blocks record last season and ranks 10th all-time in Southern Conference history in blocks and needs six to pass UNCG’s Ryan Hines (2004-08) for ninth all-time. Troutman is the league’s active leader in career blocks.

TRACKING THE THREES: Jack Isenbarger enters Thursday’s game with 232 career three-pointers made, which ranks second all-time in Elon history behind Chris Kiger’s (1994-98) career mark of 259. Isenbarger is the Southern Conference’s active leader in career triples.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Lucas Troutman has scored in double figures in 12 of Elon’s last 14 games this season and in 41 of the team’s last 48 games. Troutman has scored 20 or more points in eight of those contests.

HEAD COACH MATT MATHENY: Matt Matheny is in his fifth season as the Elon head men’s basketball coach. The 2013 Southern Conference Coach of the Year by the media, Matheny enters Thursday’s game with an overall record of 68-76. Matheny was a finalist for CollegeInsider.com’s Hugh Durham Award last season, which honors the nation’s top mid-major coach.