ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s basketball team makes its first road trip of the season, heading to Tampa, Fla. for a first-ever meeting with the South Florida Bulls on Thursday, Nov. 17, in the Sun Dome. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The game will be broadcasted on ESPN3. Ari Shanok and Mike O’Donnell will have the call from the Sun Dome. You can also listen to the action on the Elon IMG Sports Network on 104.5 FM, 1200 AM or on the TuneIn app as Taylor Durham and Ryan Meizinger.
LAST TIME OUT
Steven Santa Ana scored a blistering 32 points, a new career-high for the sophomore guard on Monday night. However, the Elon men’s basketball team was unable to overcome the 49ers as the Phoenix fell to Charlotte, 100-95, on Nov. 14, inside Alumni Gym. Karolis Kundrotas scored a career-high 16 points, while Brian Dawkins and Tyler Seibring added 10 points apiece. Luke Eddy finished with team-highs of seven rebounds and assists.
After Charlotte jumped out to a 24-15 lead, the Phoenix responded with an 18-3 swing over the next 5:12 to take a 35-27 lead. The 49ers would outscore the Phoenix 15-8 in the final five minutes to take a slight 44-43 lead at halftime. Elon was ahead by as much as six points, 73-67, with 10:12 left in the contest after a layup by Santa Ana. Charlotte responded with an 18-4 surge over a four-minute span created an eight-point cushion, 85-77, for the 49ers with 5:32 remaining. Although a seven-point burst by Santa Ana made it a one-point game,
Charlotte made big shots and hit their free throws down the stretch to win the game.
This marks the first meeting between Elon and South Florida. The Phoenix has never faced a current member of the American Athletic Conference. South Florida is 5-3 all-time against CAA teams.
HIGH POWERED OFFENSE
Although only two games have been played, the Phoenix ranks 16th in the NCAA in scoring averaging 98.0 points per game. Elon brought back most of its players from last season that contributed to the fourth-highest scoring team in the CAA last season. The Phoenix averaged 75.9 points per game, were second in the CAA with 15.3 assists per game, and proved to be a threat behind the arc averaging a league-best 9.5 triples per game. Dainan Swoope and Tyler Seibring contributed to Elon’s success behind the three-point line ranking 12th (60 3PTM) and 13th (59 3PTM) respectively. Luke Eddy also finished with 144 assists last season, which is the 10th-most assists in Elon single-season record books.
Elon returns an experienced squad of 14 players and four starters from a team that finished 16-16 overall and 7-11 in conference play in 2015-16. The Phoenix brings back 11 players who saw action in 16 or more games and six players who averaged over eight points a game last season. Elon welcomes back four starters in seniors Luke Eddy (10.5 ppg) and Christian Hairston (8.6 ppg), as well as junior Dmitri Thompson (9.9 ppg) and sophomore Tyler Seibring(9.8 ppg). Ryder Bowline and Patrick Ryan join Eddy and Hairston to make up this year’s senior class.
Elon returns 84% of its scoring from last season and 36% of those points came from the 2015-16 freshman class (Tyler Seibring, Steven Santa Ana, Dainan Swoope, Karolis Kundrotas, and Sheldon Eberhardt).
Highlighting the four returning starters is 2016 CAA All-Rookie Team selection, sophomore forward Tyler Seibring, who finished fourth on the team in scoring (9.8 ppg) and first in CAA points per game (11.8). Elon also made one addition in the offseason, bringing freshman guard Seth Fuller (Dublin, Ohio) into the fold. Luke Eddy and Christian Hairston will bring senior leadership on the floor. Eddy finished third in the CAA in assists last season and his 144 assists ranked 10th most in single-season program history.
FAMILIAR FACES IN A DIFFERENT PLACE
When Dainan Swoope attended Sunrise Christian Academy for the 2014-15 high school season, he was teammates with USF’s Jahmal McMurray. In addition, Luis Santos and Ruben Guerrero also attended Sunrise Christian. Santos was on a different squad at the school and Guerrero did not overlap with them.
Both Dmitri Thompson (Orlando) and Brian Dawkins (Jacksonville), return to their home state of Florida.
Collin Luther (Hampton) and USF’s Geno Thorpe (Shaler) both played high school basketball against each other in Pittsburgh, Pa. In the only times Thorpe and Luther met on the court during the 2012-2013 seasons, Hampton beat Shaler twice. Hampton beat Shaler, 60-50, on Dec. 21, 2012 and Luther’s squard was victorioys on January 26, 2013, beating Thorpe’s Shaler, 56-38. Thorpe scored 20 for Shaler, while Luther scored 19.
HEAD COACH MATT MATHENY
Head coach Matt Matheny won his 109th career-game at Elon on Friday, Nov. 11, against William Peace. He is currently tied with Mark Simons for the fifth most in program history. A win would put Matheny fifth in the program’s rankings for wins by an Elon head coach.
SCOUTING SOUTH FLORIDA
South Florida opened its season with a 84-73 victory against Florida A&M on Friday, Nov. 11. USF returns five who played last season, including its leading scorer Jahmal McMurray. The Bulls also returns sophomore guard Troy Holston, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL. Holston finished his freshman campaign by averaging 17.5 points over the last six games. Forward Ruben Guerrero is back for his junior season after recently winning the NCAA DI Male Sportsmanship Award. Among the Bulls’ five newcomers is four-star forward Tulio Da Silva and Penn State transfer Geno Thorpe. McMurray was named to the AAC’s Preseason All-Conference Second team and USF are picked
to finish 10th in the conference.
Elon heads to DeKalb, Ill. to take part in the NIU Thanksgiving Classic, Nov. 23-26. The Phoenix will face the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames, the Northern Illinois Huskies and the Cal Poly Mustangs. It will be first meetings against all three of those schools for the Phoenix.