ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s basketball team heads to Harrisonburg, Va. for its first Colonial Atheltic Association (CAA) road contest of the season against the James Madison Dukes on Thursday, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m. inside the Convocation Center
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 6:30 p.m.
Saturday marks the fourth all-time meeting between Elon and James Madison. The Dukes have won all three previous meetings with a 3-0 series lead. JMU swept the season series last season in conference play. The Dukes narrowly defeated the Phoenix 75-72 on Jan. 17, 2015 in Harrisonburg, Va. and topped Elon 86-75 on Feb. 14, 2015 in Alumni Gym.
The first meeting in the series between the two schools was on Nov. 29, 1975, in Harrisonburg prior to Elon’s Division I era. The Dukes claimed a 104-94 win. The two teams will meet again in just over two weeks. The Dukes and Phoenix will face off in Elon, N.C. on Saturday, Jan. 23, for a 7 p.m. tip at Alumni Gym.
LAST TIME OUT
Elon held off a late rally by the Dragons and defeated Drexel 83-78 for its first CAA victory of the season on Saturday, Jan. 2, inside Alumni Gym. Tanner Samson led Elon with 19 points and seven rebounds. Steven Santa Ana set a season-high with 18 points shooting 7-of-11 from the field and 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Luke Eddy dished out a game-high seven assists for the Phoenix. After the Phoenix went up by 14 in the second half with 4:28 remaining, the Dragons clawed their way back into the game making it a four-point game 82-78 with 19 seconds remaining. Elon held on for the 83-78 win after a Samson free throw with seven seconds left.
LET IT FLY
This season, 37.5 percent (158-of-443) of Elon’s made baskets have come from behind the three point line. The Phoenix is shooting 35.7 percent from deep and are averaging a CAA-best 10.5 triples a game, ranked 10th 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. Samson has a team-high 49 made treys this season, while Dainan Swoope is right behind him with 34. A total of nine Phoenix have made a bucket from deep this season.
DISHING IT OUT
Elon as a team is averaging 16.4 assists per game this season, which leads the CAA. Eddy is leading the team with 84 assists (26th in NCAA), 5.6 assists per game (35th in NCAA). He is second in the CAA in both categories.
Elon’s freshmen have made an impact to start the 2015-16 season scoring 36.3 percent of Phoenix points to start the year. 443 of the team’s 1222 points have been scored by a freshmen, which includes 161 from Dainan Swoope, 135 from Steven Santa Ana, Tyler Seibring has tabbed 119 and Karolis Kundrotas has scored 24. 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.
Elon currently stands at 153 in the NCAA RPI, after being ranked at 123 last week. The CAA is ranked #9 among the nation’s 32 Division I conferences, which is its highest ranking ever at this point in the season, and is one of nine conferences with four teams among the top 86 of the RPI.
Samson became Elon’s all-time leader in career triples against FIU on, Dec. 4. The senior currently has 291 made 3-pointers and is nine away from becoming the first Elon player to reach 300 made triples. He surpassed Jack Isenbarger who had 264 made treys in his career. Samson became the program’s 39th 1,000-point scorer after scoring 23 points against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Friday, Nov. 27.
ROAD TO BALTIMORE
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.
Elon returns to Alumni Gym for a home contest against preseason favorite Hofstra on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 6 p.m., The game will be broadcasted on American Sports Network (ASN). The Phoenix has a CAA home and road split next week with a home game on Jan. 14 vs. UNCW and a road contest at College of Charleston on Jan. 16.