ELON, N.C. – Elon University men’s basketball returns to Alumni Gym to continue its three-game homestand on Thursday, Nov. 30. as the Phoenix hosts South Florida at 7 p.m. USF is the first member of the American Athletic Conference (AAC) in school history to visit Alumni Gym.
• Thursday marks just the second all-time meeting between Elon and USF and this is the second straight season the two have met. This will be the first time USF has visited Alumni Gym.
• In the first-ever meeting last season, Elon defeated USF 74-61 last year on Nov. 17, 2016 inside the Sun Dome. Steven Santa Ana and Brian Dawkins led all Phoenix scorers with 13 points each. Karolis Kundrotas and Luke Eddy added 11 points apiece.
LAST TIME OUT
• Justin Cousin’s three-pointer for Radford tied the contest at 74-74 with 1:44 remaining, the Phoenix scored the final three points and forced Christian Bradford to shoot an air ball three at the buzzer as Elon held on for the three-point 77-74 win against the Highlanders on Wednesday, Nov. 22 inside Alumni Gym.
• Dainan Swoope finished with 24 points and eight rebounds, while Brian Dawkins added a 21-point performance. Swoope notched his fourth-straight game of 20+ points.
• The Phoenix as a team made a season-high 15 three pointers and recorded 20 assists on 28 made baskets.
SWOOPE THERE IT IS
• Dainan Swoope has been on a scoring tear over his last four games, scoring 20+ points in all four contests and averaging 23.8 ppg during that span.
• Most recently, he scored 24 points in a 77-74 victory over Radford on Nov. 22. Swoope matched a career-high with 26 points in Elon’s triple overtime win against FIU on Nov. 17, followed with a 25-point performance against Concordia-St. Paul on Nov. 18 and rounded out the tournament with 20 points against Milwaukee.
• Swoope is currently fourth in the CAA in scoring averaging 17.7 ppg through seven games this season and has the most 20+ point games in the league this season with four.
• Since only scoring five points against William Peace, Swoope has averaged 21.6 ppg. He has scored in double figures in six of seven games this season.
• The junior point guard is also fifth in the CAA in assists averaging 3.4 dimes per game this season.
CLOSING IN ON 1,000 POINTS
• Two Phoenix are less than 200 points away from reaching 1,000 career points. Elon currently has 39 players in program history that have reached the 1,000-point mark.
• Dmitri Thompson is the closest with 869 career points and is just 131 points away. Tyler Seibring is right behind Thompson with 842 career points and is 158 points away.
IT’S ALL ABOUT BALANCE
• Elon has two players averaging doubles figures and three others are averaging over nine points a game so far in this early season. Dainan Swoope leads the way with 17.7 ppg and Brian Dawkins is averaging 13.1 ppg after scoring 21 points on Nov. 22 against Radford.
• Tyler Seibring (9.9), Dmitri Thompson (9.7), and Steven Santa Ana (9.4 ppg) are just on the outside looking in. Sheldon Eberhardt has also contributed with 7.0 ppg off the bench this season.
• The four additional players have combined five double-figure scoring games this season.
• The Phoenix has had at least three players finish in double-figures in six games this season. The only time this season Elon had less in a game was two against Radford (11/22).
WHAT A THRILLER
• Elon erased a 13-point deficit to defeat Florida International in triple overtime on Friday, Nov. 17, to open the Black & Gold Shootout.
• It was only the second triple overtime game Elon has played since becoming a Division I program in 1999-2000.
• The Phoenix improves to 2-0 in triple overtime games since becoming a Division I program. Elon defeated UNCG 112-108 in the team’s last 3OT game on Feb. 28, 2004.
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. Elon has just 12 home games remaining inside Alumni Gym.
A LOOK AT ELON
• The Phoenix has started the season with a 4-3 mark after defeating Radford and posting a 2-1 record at the Black & Gold Shootout in Milwaukee. Elon is currently second in the CAA averaging 79.7 points per contest and averaging a league-best 12.1 made three pointers a game, which is tied for 6th in NCAA Division I.
• Defensively, the Phoenix has been stout, only allowing teams to shoot 41.8% from the floor, which ranks fourth in the CAA. Elon is also first in the league in defensive rebounds, averaging 31.7 per game.
• 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 Ana and 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.
• South Florida has an almost entirely new roster only returning two starters from last season and bringing in 10 newcomers, with eight of those newcomers eligible to play this season.
• USF has allowed only 63.1 points per game, the third-best scoring defense in the American Athletic Conference. The Bulls only allow opponents to shoot 27.8 percent from three-point range, which ranks first in the AAC.
• USF is shooting 77.6 percent (111-for-148) from the free throw line this season, good for second best in the AAC. The Bulls have two players shooting over 90 percent from the line in Stephan Jiggetts (.944) and Terrence Samuel (.933).
• Malik Martin is currently sixth in the AAC in field goal percentage. Martin is shooting 59.1 percent this season from the field.
• Terrence Samuel (Brooklyn, N.Y.) is averaging 4.7 assists per game, third in the AAC.
• The USF men’s basketball team is led by head coach Brian Gregory. On March 22, Gregory was introduced as the 10th head coach in program history. He previously led programs at Georgia Tech (2011-16) and Dayton (2003-11).
• Gregory spent nearly a decade as an assistant coach under Michigan State’s Hall of Fame head coach Tom Izzo and helped the Spartans win the 2000 NCAA National Championship. Gregory brings nearly 250 career head coaching wins and six postseason appearances, including the 2010 NIT Championship, to Tampa.
The Phoenix closes its three-game homestand on Saturday, Dec. 2, against 2017 CIT Champion Saint Peter’s at 7 p.m. inside Alumni Gym. The game will be available on Phoenix All-Access and the Elon IMG Sports Network.