ELON, N.C. – Elon University men’s basketball is set to compete in its lone non-conference tournament of the season, Friday-Sunday, Nov. 17-19, at the Black & Gold Shootout in Milwaukee. The Phoenix opens the tournament on Friday against FIU, will play Concordia St. Paul on Saturday, and close out the tournament against the host Milwaukee on Sunday.
Watch Elon’s first two games on the Black & Gold Network on YouTube. The Phoenix will face Milwaukee on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. You can listen to all of the games on the Elon IMG Sports Network on WSJS 104.5 FM, 1200 AM, on the TuneIn app, or on elonphoenix.com. Matt Krause and Brian Morris will have the call from UWM Panther Arena with the pregame show beginning approximately 30 minutes before each game.
• Friday will be the third straight year that Elon has faced FIU and it will be the third all-time meeting overall. Elon leads the series 2-0 against the Panthers winning 84-81 in overtime on Nov. 30, 2016 in Alumni Gym and 77-71 on Dec. 4, 2015 in the first meeting at FIU Arena
• The Phoenix will face both Concordia St. Paul and Milwaukee for the first time on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. This is the second straight season Elon has faced a team from the Horizon League. The Phoenix defeated UIC in the NIU Thanksgiving Classic, 91-80, on Nov. 23, 2016 last season.
EARLY SEASON TOURNAMENTS
• This is the sixth consecutive season that Elon has participated in an Early Season Tournament during non-conference play since the 2011-12 season.
• Under head coach Matt Matheny, this will be the seventh time during his nine-year tenure that the Phoenix has participated in an early season tournament.
• Elon came away with tournament titles at the EA Sports Maui Invitational Mainland tournament at Alumni Gym in 2012 and at the 2016 NIU Thanksgiving Classic last season.
LAST TIME OUT
The Phoenix fell to Furman 76-67 on Tuesday night, Nov. 14, at Timmons Arena. The Paladins used a 17-2 run midway through the second half to take a commanding lead for the victory. Tyler Seibring led the Phoenix with 15 points.
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.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Florida International (FIU)
• FIU has a veteran-led group in 2017-18 with nine of its 13 players on the rosters listed as upperclassmen. The Panthers finished 3-15 overall in Conference USA last season, a 13th place finish.
• The Panthers lost their top five scorers from last season, including senior guard Donte McGill, who averaged a team-high 18.3 points per game. Junior guard Eric Lockett returns after playing in all 31 games last year and made 13 starts. He finished the 2016-17 campaign averaging 5.1 points per contest.
• Anthony Evans has begun his fifth season with FIU and owns a 52-77 record during his tenure. He earned his 150th victory in his 10 years as a head coach on March 4, 2017, in a 68-56 victory at UAB.
Concordia St. Paul
• The Golden Bears return 10 of 11 players from 2016-17 and have half of its 12-man roster made up of upperclassmen. Fouth-year head coach Joey James, the sixth winningest head coach in program history, looks to use the talent to propel the team forward in the NSIC.
• Concordia Saint Paul returns its top scorer from last season, Bryndan Matthews, which was the 18th-best in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The Golden Bears lose Diallo Powell, who graduated after scoring 11.7 ppg and was one of two players on the team to score in double figures last season.
• Concordia University, St. Paul, is located in St. Paul, Minnasota, which is about a 5 hour drive northwest of the site of the Black & Gold Shootout in Milwaukee, Wis.
• The matchup will be the first all-time between the Elon Phoenix and the Concordia Saint Paul Golden Bears.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Milwaukee)
• University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, also known as Milwaukee, is the host of the Black & Gold Shootout and is a member of the Horizon League.
• The Panthers were picked to finish eighth of 10 teams and received one first-place vote in the 2017-18 Horizon League Preseason Poll, which was released on Oct. 6.
• Don’t be fooled by the team’s record last season, as the Panthers made it to the Horizon League Championship game last season as the the No. 10-seed. They not only became the first No. 10 seed in Horizon League history to win a tournament game, but the first to reach the league championship game. Milwaukee’s journey through the tournament included upsets of No. 2-seed Valpo, No. 7-seed Detroit Mercy, as well as No. 6-seeded UIC, before the Panthers fell to the No. 4 seed Northern Kentucky in the championship game, 59-53, on March 7.
• Former head coach LaVall Jordan left to take over the helm at Butler. Milwaukee announced the hiring of Patrick Baldwin on June 20, who joins the team after spending the last seven seasons as an assistant coach at Northwestern. He became the seventh head coach since Milwaukee became a Division I program in 1990.
• Milwaukee returns its top scorer from last season in Brock Stull, who averaged 13.5 ppg for the Panthers. Despite graduating second-leading scorer Cody Wichmann, the Panthers bring back its next top four scoring leaders, who all averaged over six points a game in 2016-17.
ELON RANKED IN PRESEASON MID-MAJOR POLL
• Elon is currently ranked No. 23 in the first CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25 Poll of the regular season. It’s Elon’s fifth appearance in the 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.
• Elon’s ranking the the CollegeInsider.com Preseason Mid-Major Top-25 poll was its 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 Dawkins collected second team honors.
FINAL SEASON IN ALUMNI GYM
The 2017-18 season marks the 67th 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.
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 returns home on Wednesday, Nov. 22, to face off against the Radford Highlanders inside Alumni Gym. The game is set to tip off at 7 p.m. on Phoenix All-Access and CAA.tv.