ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s basketball team heads back on the road, this time to Asheville to take on the UNC Asheville Bulldogs on Monday, Dec. 21, for a 7 p.m. tip at Kimmel Arena.
Listen to the game live on WSML 104.5 FM/1200 AM with Taylor Durham and John Roddey on the call on the Elon IMG Sports Network. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. You can watch the action live on the Big South Network. The video stream is free of charge.
LAST TIME OUT
In a tight game that saw nine lead changes and no team lead by more than seven points until the closing minutes, the Elon University men’s basketball team delivered late, closing with seven unanswered points to seal a 79-69 victory against UNCG Dec. 19 at Alumni Gym, the team’s 12th straight over its Triad rival.
With the win, head coach Matt Matheny earned his 100th career victory. He is in his seventh season with Elon and ranks seventh all-time on the program’s coaching list. He becomes the seventh coach to reach the century mark in victories.
With under two minutes to play and Elon leading by three, UNCG’s Asad Lamot ripped Eddy of the ball and headed down the court for a layup, which Samson tracked down for a block. That led to a breakout for the Phoenix and a corner 3-pointer for Eddy to stretch Elon’s lead to 75-69 with 1:25 left.
The Phoenix outscored the Spartans 45-33 in the second half to win its fifth straight game. Christian Hairston paced the Phoenix with a game-high 17 points on an efficient 7-for-10 shooting, while Tyler Seibring and Steven Santa Ana each added 13 points. Luke Eddy scored eight points and dished out a game-high nine assists.
MATHENY’S 100TH WIN
Now in his seventh season with the Phoenix, coach Matheny earned his 100th career win at Elon against UNCG on Saturday, becoming the seventh coach is program history to reach the century mark. Matheny is in sole possession of seventh on the all-time coaching wins list in program history ahead of Horace Hendrickson’s (1937-42) 93 career wins.
He is just one wins away from tying Bill Morningstar (1979-86) who is sixth all-time with 101 career victories. Mark Simons (1993-2003) is currently fifth all-time with 109 victories.
FORMER BIG SOUTH FOES
Although both teams haven’t faced each other since 2003, Elon and UNC Asheville used to be conference foes when the Phoenix were member of the Big South from 1999-2003. While facing one another in conference play, the Bulldogs had the upper hand with a 7-2 overall record over that span. The last time the two teams met was during the Big South Tournament on March 4, 2003 at Elon. UNC Asheville defeated the Phoenix 68-66 in overtime.
LET IT FLY
This season, 39.4 percent of Elon’s made baskets have come from behind the three point line. The Phoenix is shooting 36.0 percent from deep and are averaging a CAA-best 11.1 triples a game. Elon’s 18 3-pointers against the Alabama State Hornets on Dec. 16 was the most a Phoenix team has made in a game during the coach Matheny era. Tanner Samson has a team-high 39 made treys this season, while Dainan Swoope is right behind him with 27. A total of nine Phoenix have made a bucket from deep this season.
305 AND COUNTING
The Elon men’s basketball program has made at least one three-point field goal in 305 consecutive games (not including exhibition games). The Phoenix currently average 11.1 made three pointers a game this season. 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.
HAIRSTON ON A TEAR
After averaging 5.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in the first six games of the season, Christian Hairston has averaged 15.0 points and 7.4 rebounds over his last five games. Hairston has started the last two games for the Phoenix.
He recorded his second-career double-double, with career-highs of 21 points and 13 rebounds vs. Kennesaw State. He scored16 at FIU, including 10 points down the stretch against the Panthers in the 77-71 victory on Dec. 4. Hairston also finished with 15 points on Wednesday against Alabama State and 17 against UNCG on Saturday.
After Elon takes a short break for the holidays, the Phoenix will head to Cameron Indoor Stadium on Monday, Dec. 28, to take on the Duke Blue Devils for an 8 p.m. tip on ESPNU. Elon will be back at home on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, as they host Northeastern to open conference play at Alumni Gym at 2 p.m.