Elon (13-11) at Samford (9-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 11th, 5:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pete Hanna Center (5,000) -- Birmingham, Alabama. Television: . Home Record: Elon 9-3, Samford 5-8. Away Record: Elon 4-8, Samford 4-7. Neutral Record: Elon 0-0, Samford 0-0. Conference Record: Elon 8-5, Samford 6-7. Series Record: Samford leads, 6-1.
GAME NOTES: Southern Conference foes collide on the hardwood tonight in Birmingham, as the Elon Phoenix tangle with the Samford Bulldogs at the Pete Hanna Center.
Elon had a three-game win streak snapped in an 83-75 setback at Chattanooga on Thursday evening, a loss that left Elon with an 8-5 tally to its SoCon slate. The meeting with the Mocs kicked off a three-game road swing, an area in which the club hasn't exactly excelled -- with a mere 4-8 mark away from their own friendly confines. The Phoenix stand at 13-11 overall this year.
The Bulldogs found themselves in yet another nail-biter on Thursday night, as for the eighth consecutive SoCon matchup, nothing was decided leading up to the final possession. Samford missed its last five shots and ended up on the losing end of a 71-69 final against UNC Greensboro. The Bulldogs are 5-3 in those contests, but are just 9-15 overall on the season. The loss to the Spartans snapped a modest two-game win streak for Samford, and dropped its league tally to 6-7.
Samford owns a 6-1 lead in the all-time series between the two programs. Elon has never won a contest at Samford.
Elon allowed the Mocs to shoot at a 51.6 percent clip in the eight-point loss to Chattanooga. The Phoenix hit just 43.3 percent from the floor themselves during the contest, including a 10-of-30 mark from long range. The Phoenix committed a game-high 10 giveaways as well, and were outrebounded by a 37-22 margin. Sebastian Koch scored 20 points to lead the way for Elon, while Jack Isenbarger tallied 14 points and passed out eight assists. Lucas Troutman netted 13 points in the losing effort, while Drew Spradlin and Ryley Beaumont chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively. The Phoenix average a healthy 70.5 points per game this season, but the club is shooting at a lackluster 41.1 percent pace. The Phoenix have been limited from beyond the arc as well, hitting just 33.5 percent of their attempts from long range, and have found free throws to be downright elusive at times to the tune of a meager 67.5 percent conversion rate at the charity stripe. Still, Elon owns three players with a double figure scoring tally on the year, beginning with Jack Isenbarger and his 13.2 points per game. Troutman follows (12.8 ppg), while Austin Hamilton rounds out the trio via a 10.8 ppg contribution.
Drew Windler got the Bulldogs within three with a free throw at 71-69 with just 1:29 remaining in the loss to UNCG, but that was where the contest stayed as Samford missed three straight three-point attempts over their last three possessions, and Windler couldn't get a tip-in to fall on the final attempt to tie the game as time expired. The Bulldogs went just 7-of-32 from beyond the arc during the contest and shot an underwhelming 40.0 percent from the floor overall. Windler scored 18 points to lead the way for Samford, while Tyler Hood added 16 points to go with eight rebounds. Raijon Kelly got into the mix as well, contributing 10 points and grabbing five boards. The Bulldogs have yielded 68.5 ppg to the opposition this season, while netting just 65.3 ppg themselves through a 43.5 percent shooting clip. Struggles from both long range (33.1 percent) and the foul line (66.2 percent) are primary reasons for the lack of offensive firepower, although an average of 13.6 turnovers per contest has been a culprit as well. Windler and Hood represent the only starters to own a double-digit scoring average for Samford this season, as the duo leads the way with 13.8 and 10.9 ppg, respectively.
Go with Elon in this one, even with being on the road. The Phoenix have far more weapons, and should pull out a victory here. However, with the way the Bulldogs have played lately, especially against league opponents, this figures to be anything but a blowout.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Elon 70, Samford 68
02/11 10:49:16 ET