ELON, N.C. – The Elon men’s basketball team heads to Williamsburg, Va. on Thursday night for a matchup against William & Mary for the first time this season in Colonial Athletic Association play on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. inside Kaplan Arena.
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 Kaplan Arena begins at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday marks the ninth all-time meeting between Elon and William & Mary. The Tribe lead the all-time series 7-1 and 3-1 during Elon’s Division I era. Elon and William & Mary matched up three times last season, including in the 2015 CAA Men’s Basketball Championships. Both teams split the regular season series with the home team winning each time.
In the last meeting, the No. 1-seeded Tribe defeated the No. 8 seed Elon 72-59 in the second round of the CAA Championships at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore on March 7, 2015. Last season, Elon won 85-79 in Alumni Gym on Jan. 8, 2015 and the Tribe defeated the Phoenix 77-58 on Feb. 11, 2015 in historic Williamsburg, Va. The first all time meeting was during the 1923-24 season and the Tribe won 25-10 on Feb. 14, 1924.
A WINNING SENIOR CLASS
Elon’s senior class of Sam Hershberger, Tony Sabato, Tanner Samson and Wes Brewer have been a part of 66 wins during their time with the program since the 2012-13 season. They have a combined record of 66-51 since their first year with the program. The most wins posted by a senior class during Elon’s Division I era is 69 total victories, which was reached by last year’s 2015 class of Austin Hamilton, Kevin Blake, and Ryan Winters.
Head coach Matt Matheny started Tyler Seibring and Steven Santa Ana on Saturday, Jan. 16, at College of Charleston. It was the first time in the Matheny era and first time since the 2008-09 season that Elon has started two true freshmen in a game. The last time it happened was on Jan. 10, 2009 at Western Carolina when Drew Spradlin and Josh Bonney both started for the Phoenix.
LET IT FLY
This season, 38.3 percent (202-of-527) 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 10.6 triples a game, ranked 8th 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 60 made treys this season, while Dainan Swoope is right behind him with 41. A total of nine Phoenix have made a bucket from deep this season.
DISHING IT OUT
Elon as a team is averaging 15.9 assists per game this season, which leads the CAA. Luke Eddy is leading the team with 99 assists, 5.2 assists per game. He is second in the CAA in both categories.
Elon’s freshmen have made an impact during the 2015-16 season scoring 37.4 percent of Phoenix points this season. 571 of the team’s 1524 points have been scored by a freshmen, which includes 196 from Dainan Swoope, 175 from Tyler Seibring, Steven Santa Ana has tabbed 172 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. Seibring and Santa Ana have been instrumental in CAA play so far as freshmen. Seibring has averaged 13.2 points and 5.5 rebounds, while Santa Ana has notched 10.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in the first six games.
SEIBRING REPEATS AS CAA ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Freshman forward Tyler Seibring was named CAA Rookie of the Week for the second consecutive week and the third time this season on Monday, Jan. 18.
Seibring averaged 14.5 points and 4.5 rebounds during Elon’s week. During the week, Seibring shot the ball 66.7 percent (10-15) from the floor, including 7-of-11 from 3-point range. He has now scored in double figures in five-straight contests.
The freshman forward scored a season and game-high 18 points, grabbed seven rebounds and assisted Dainan Swoope’s game-winning basket as the Phoenix rallied past College of Charleston, 65-64, on Saturday. The Towanda, Ill. native also scored 11 points against UNCW on Thursday.
GOOD START IS KEY
Elon has been most successful this season when winning the tip and leading at the half this season. The Phoenix is 10-0 this season when leading at the half and 6-2 overall when winning the tip.
Elon ranks in the top-3 in the CAA in multiple offensive categories. In game averages, the Phoenix is second in scoring (80.2 ppg), first in assists (15.9 apg), and first in three-pointers per game (10.6).
Elon completes week four of conference play inside Alumni Gym on Saturday with its second matchup of the season against James Madison at 7 p.m. Next week, the Phoenix heads north for a road swing at Hofstra on Thursday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m., followed by a trip to Northeastern on Saturday, Jan. 30, for a 7 p.m. tip.