ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s basketball team finishes off a two-game road swing on Saturday night, Jan. 25, when the Phoenix heads to Birmingham, Ala., to face the Samford Bulldogs. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. (ET) at the Pete Hanna Center. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. (ET) on WPCM 95.1 FM/920 AM.
ELON VS. SAMFORD: Saturday night marks the 11th all-time meeting between the Phoenix and Bulldogs. Elon trails in the series, 7-3, but won both meetings against Samford last year. The Phoenix clinched the Southern Conference North Division title on Feb. 21, 2013, last season at Samford with a 63-62 win and topped the Bulldogs, 77-66, on Feb. 2, 2013, at Alumni Gym. Elon is 1-4 all-time in games played at the Pete Hanna Center. Elon and Samford meet once more this season, a February 15 date inside Alumni Gym.
LAST MEETING: It came down to the wire, but Elon escaped Samford with a 63-62 win on Feb. 21, 2013, in its last meeting with the Bulldogs to clinch the league’s North Division title. Trailing by one with 26 seconds remaining and the clock winding down, Sebastian Koch hit a driving Ryley Beaumont on a backdoor cut toward the basket for a layup, giving Elon a 63-62 lead. Following a timeout with 8.2 seconds left, Samford’s Raijon Kelly’s potential game-winning jumper from near the free throw line ricocheted off the rim as time expired, allowing the Phoenix to hold on to the victory. Beaumont ended the game with 14 points and 14 boards.
LOOKING BACK: Chattanooga’s Z. Mason was too much for the Phoenix to handle on Thursday, Jan. 23, in an 84-63 setback at McKenzie Arena. Mason scored 15 first-half points and ended the game with 27 points and 11 boards to lead the Mocs to its ninth straight win a 7-0 start in Southern Conference play. Elon put four in double figures in the setback, led by Sebastian Koch and Luke Eddy’s team-high 11 points.
LOOKING AHEAD: Following Saturday’s game at Samford, Elon returns to the friendly confines of Alumni Gym on Thursday night, Jan. 30, to battle instate rivals Western Carolina.
MILESTONE WATCH: Sebastian Koch became the third player on Elon’s roster to reach 1,000 career points on Jan. 18 against UMass and now sits at 1,016 career points, joining Lucas Troutman (1,453) and Jack Isenbarger (1,308). Troutman ranks 12th all-time in scoring and needs four points to pass Don Haithcox for 11th all-time. Isenbarger ranks 15th all-time in school history in career points and needs 74 points to pass Thomas Moore for 14th. Elon’s next closest player to reaching 1,000 career points is Ryley Beaumont (960 points). If Beaumont reaches 1,000 points this season, Elon will be the only team in the nation with four 1,000-point scorers on its current roster.
STREAK SNAPPED: Elon snapped a nine-game losing skid at Davidson’s Belk Arena on Thursday, Jan. 16, with an 87-85 win in overtime. The win also snapped Davidson’s 23-game home winning streak against Southern Conference foes. It marked Elon’s first win over the ‘Cats since Jan. 20, 2011.
HOME COOKING: Over the last three years, Elon has a 29-9 record inside the friendly confines of Alumni Gym. Elon has sold out Alumni Gym 10 times under head coach Matt Matheny, with its most recent sellout coming on Jan. 18 vs. No. 15/16 UMass. Elon is 7-2 at home this year and has won 14-of-17 inside Alumni Gym.
ELON IN SOCON PLAY: The Phoenix is in its 11th season as a member of the Southern Conference. Elon is 85-95 (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 37-40 record in SoCon play.
FROM LONG RANGE: Elon currently leads the Southern Conference in three-point field goal percentage at 39 percent and threes made with 166. Sebastian Koch (58) and Tanner Samson (53) rank first and third in the league in threes made, respectively. The long-distance duo ranks second and fourth in the league in three-point field goal percentage, respectively.
BLOCK PARTY: With three blocked shots at UTC on Jan. 23, Lucas Troutman extended his program-best career mark to 192 blocks. Troutman set Elon’s all-time blocks record last season and ranks ninth all-time in Southern Conference history in blocks and needs two blocks to pass Appalachian State’s Ricky Nedd for eighth all-time. Troutman is the league’s active leader in career blocks.
TRACKING THE THREES: Jack Isenbarger enters Saturday’s game with 237 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 15 of Elon’s last 17 games this season and in 44 of the team’s last 51 games. Troutman has scored 20 or more points in nine of those contests, including a career-high 28 at Davidson on Jan. 16.
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 Saturday’s game with an overall record of 69-78. Matheny was a finalist for CollegeInsider.com’s Hugh Durham Award last season, which honors the nation’s top mid-major coach.
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.