Elon MBB Hosts Reigning CAA Champions Northeastern in Conference Opener

ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s basketball begins the journey through Colonial Athletic Association play on New Year’s Eve, Thursday afternoon, as they host the reigning conference champions Northeastern in Alumni Gym at 2 p.m.

The game will broadcasted live on Phoenix All-Access with Bryan Anderson and men’s basketball alum Adam Constantine on the call. You can also listen to the game live on WSML 104.5 FM/1200 AM with Taylor Durham and Ryan Meizinger on the Elon IMG Sports Network. Pre-game coverage on WSML in Alumni Gym begins at 1:30 p.m.

Thursday will be the third all-time meeting between the Elon Phoenix and Northeastern Huskies after both teams met for the first time last season. The Phoenix and Huskies split the season series last year with the home team winning each contest.

In the first-ever matchup, Northeastern defeated Elon 80-61 on Jan. 31, 2015 inside Matthews Arena. The Phoenix defeated the Huskies 72-65 on Feb. 26, 2015 inside Alumni Gym to split the season series. The win for Elon was the second of the team’s three-game regular season winning streak and four game winning streak overall. The Phoenix defeated Towson in the first round of the CAA Championships.

Since making the transition to the Division I ranks, Elon is 9-7 all-time in conference openers. This marks the first time in four years the Phoenix begins conference action at home. The last time Elon began conference play at home was on Nov. 30, 2011 when the Phoenix opened up against Furman in Southern Conference play. Matt Matheny has a career head coaching record of 3-3 in league openers.

Elon is receiving three votes in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25 Poll released on Dec. 28. Northeastern has 27 votes, while James Madison and College of Charleston are the only teams from the CAA in the top-25.

Elon earned six total victories in CAA play last season, and showed promise in its first season with some key wins against top-ranked opponents in the CAA in its inaugural season.

The Phoenix defeated CAA runner-up William & Mary, 85-79, on Jan. 8, and eventual league champion Northeastern 72-65 on Feb. 26 in Alumni Gym. The team also earned victories against Drexel (Jan. 3), UNCW (Feb. 28), and swept the season series against Delaware.

This season, 38.4 percent (140-of-365) of Elon’s made baskets have come from behind the three-point line. The Phoenix is shooting 35.4 percent from deep and are averaging a CAA-best 10.8 triples a game, ranked eighth in the NCAA this season.

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 41 made treys this season, while Dainan Swoope is right behind him with 30. A total of nine Phoenix have made a bucket from deep this season.

Elon’s freshmen have made an impact to start the 2015-16 season scoring 35.8 percent of Phoenix points to start the year. 379 of the team’s 1060 points have been scored by a freshmen, which includes 147 from Dainan Swoope, 112 from Steven Santa Ana, Tyler Seibring has tabbed 96 and Karolis Kundrotas has scored 20. Sheldon Eberhardt has four points. He scored his first-career basket on Dec. 13 against Wesley College and had a bucket in the final minutes against #15 Duke.

The Phoenix has now won 13 straight games in Alumni Gym during the month of December dating back to the 2012-13 season. Elon’s last loss in Alumni Gym in December was on Dec. 1, 2012 against College of Charleston.

The 2016 Colonial Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Championship is scheduled for March 4-7 in Baltimore, Md., at Royal Farms Arena. Last year, Northeastern topped William & Mary in the championship game, 72-61, to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The Phoenix is back at home on Saturday, Jan. 2 as is plays host to Drexel at 4 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on American Sports Network to complete the CAA opening weekend. Following Saturday, Elon has a home and road CAA split at James Madison on Jan. 7 at 7p.m., and at home against Hofstra on Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. on ASN.