ELON, N.C. – Elon University men’s basketball opens its 2017-18 season at the end of the week, beginning on Friday, Nov. 10, with a quick road trip to the Bull City to face the No. 1-ranked Duke Blue Devils at 7 p.m. The Phoenix will then begin its 47th and final campaign inside Alumni Gym on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. against the William Peace Pacers.
Watch the action against No. 1 Duke live on ACC Network Extra through WatchESPN. You can see the Phoenix in action against William Peace on Saturday on Phoenix All-Access and CAA.TV.
Listen to the action on the Elon IMG Sports Network on WSJS 104.5 FM, 1200 AM or on the TuneIn app for both games this weekend. Matt Krause and Brian Morris will have the call from Cameron Indoor Stadium and Alumni Gym with each pregame show beginning at 6:30 p.m.
• Friday will mark the 30th meeting all-time between the Elon Phoenix and Duke Blue Devils since the series started back in 1911 when Duke was then called Trinity.
• The Blue Devils have won 11 straight in the series, and have the upper hand in all contests during Elon’s Division I era. Elon’s last win against Duke was just over 95 years ago on Feb. 6, 1922, where the Fighting Christians won 30-29 over Duke, who was then called Trinity. Duke defeated Elon 72-61 last season on Dec. 21, 2016 in Greensboro Coliseum.
• The Phoenix will face the Pacers for just the second time in a regular season contest and opens its home slate against William Peace for the second straight season. The first meeting between the two schools happened last season as Elon defeated William Peace 101-66 on Nov. 11, 2016 in its home opener.
LAST TIME OUT
The Phoenix defeated Division III foe Randolph College 99-63 in its lone preseason exhibition on Wednesday, Nov. 1, inside Alumni Gym. Karolis Kundrotas led the way with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. Dainan Swoope scored a game-high 17 points and Tyler Seibring chipped in 11 rebounds and a team-high five assists.
FINAL SEASON IN ALUMNI GYM
The 2017-18 season marks the 47th and final year of competition inside historic Alumni Gym as the program is set to relocate to the Schar Center for the 2018-19 campaign.
A LOOK AT ELON
• Elon returns all five starters and its top five scorers from a team that finished 18-14 overall and placed tied for fourth in the CAA with a 10-8 mark in 2016-17.
• Four of the five starters averaged double-figure scoring last season, led by 2016-17 All-CAA Second Team forward Tyler Seibring, who averaged a team-high 14.4 ppg.
• Brian Dawkins finished second on the team in scoring at 12.9 ppg, while Steven Santa Anaand Dainan Swoope each scored 11.7 ppg. Dmitri Thompson posted 8.9 ppg as a junior last season.
• Dawkins, Thompson, Jack Anton, Jack George and Collin Luther make up this year’s senior class.
• Elon also made three additions this past offseason, bringing in freshman guard Nathan Priddyand forwards Simon Wright and Duje Radja into the fold.
• Duke debuted at No. 1 in the Associated Press preseason poll on Nov. 1. This marks ninth time in program history – and second year in a row – that the Blue Devils have claimed the top spot in the preseason AP rankings. Duke was also voted No. 1 in the preseason in the USA Today Coaches poll.
• The Blue Devils return seven letterwinners from last year’s ACC championship team, led by senior guard Grayson Allen (14.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg and 3.5 apg). Allen was named first team All-American in the preseason by Blue Ribbon. Joining the returnees is a freshman group of eight players considered to make up the top recruiting class in the nation.
• Duke welcomes eight newcomers to the fold who made up the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation according to ESPN. Four top 10 recruits — Marvin Bagley III (1), Wendell Carter,
Jr. (5), Treyvon Duval (6) and Gary Trent, Jr. (8). Jordan Tucker (42) and Alex O’Connell (87) also resided in the top 100 per ESPN. Jordan Goldwire and Mike Buckmire
are also incoming freshmen for Duke.
• This marks just the third time Duke has eight freshmen on its roster (others were 1944-45 and 1986-67).
ABOUT WILLIAM PEACE
• William Peace will face the Phoenix for the second time ever in Elon’s first home game of the final season in Alumni Gym.
• The Pacers graduated three seniors from the 2016-17 season, including the program’s first 1,000 point scorer, USA South All-Conference honoree Chris Thomas. That group also includes the team’s top scorer from last season, Ryan Emfinger.
• The squad lost its top four scorers, which included seniors Thomas, Emfinger, and Jalen Vince, as well as Jay Hicks, who transferred to NCAA Division II UNC-Pembroke.
• The Pacers finished tied for second, and officially in fifth in the USA South Conference, posting a 15-11 overall record and 8-6 mark in the conference. William Peace fell to LaGrange College in a heartbreaker 80-78 in the first round of the conference tournament.
• Head coach Claude Shields, heading into his seventh season at William Peace, played for the junior varsity team at North Carolina.
ELON RANKED IN PRESEASON MID-MAJOR POLL
• CollegeInsider.com released its Preseason Mid-Major Top-25 Poll on Oct. 30, and Elon University men’s basketball earned a spot at No. 22 in the rankings.
• It’s Elon’s fourth appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25 and highest ranking in the poll as a Division I program. The Phoenix was ranked No. 23 for two straight weeks last season. The first time Elon earned a ranking in the poll was when the Phoenix was ranked No. 25 on Feb. 4, 2013.
CAA PRESEASON PREDICTIONS AND ACCOLADES
The Phoenix has been predicted to finish third in the league as the CAA released its 2017-18 preseason men’s basketball poll on Oct. 18, during the conference’s digital media day. College of Charleston was picked the favorite to win the league. Elon had two players earn preseason all-conference honors as Tyler Seibring was named to the first team and Brian Dawkinscollected second team honors.
2016-17 SEASON REVIEW – QUICK HITS
• Tyler Seibring was named to the All-CAA Second Team last season. Seibring became Elon’s first second-team selection and highest all-conference selection as a member of the CAA. It’s was highest overall selection since Lucas Troutman ’14 was a first-team honoree in 2014.
• Seibring was also named to the 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-America Third Team. He became the first Academic All-American selection for the program since Drew Spradlin in 2011.
• The Phoenix has had balanced scoring last season. Six different Elon players scored 20 or more in a game during the 2016-17 campaign. Thompson was the only Phoenix last season to score 20+ in two consecutive games.
• Elon has eclipsed the 15 or more win total for fifth consecutive seasons. It was the first time program has done so since the 1987-88 season.
• In conference games only, Elon finished second in the league shooting 73.2% from the line through 18 games. Elon made 80% or above from the line in six of those contests.
• Elon began the season with a 6-1 mark, the best start in 29 years through the first seven games. In addition, it was Elon’s best start in program’s Division I era since 1999 and also the program’s best start as a member of the NCAA.
• The last time an Elon squad won at least six of its first seven games was in 1987-88 when the Fighting Christians, members of the NAIA, also started the season 6-1 overall.
• For the third consecutive season, Elon has had the most players of any team in the league selected to the CAA All-Academic Team. The Phoenix topped its total from the first two seasons in the CAA with four selections in 2016-17.
The Phoenix begins a four-game road swing on Tuesday, Nov. 14, with a trip to Greenville, S.C. to face former Southern Conference rival Furman. The game will tip off Timmons Arena at 7 p.m. and will be aired on ESPN3.