Western Carolina (11-17) at Elon (13-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 18th, 3:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Gym (1,585) -- Elon, North Carolina. Television: SoCon TV, UNC-TV. Home Record: WCU 7-4, Elon 9-3. Away Record: WCU 3-12, Elon 4-10. Neutral Record: WCU 1-1, Elon 0-0. Conference Record: WCU 5-10, Elon 8-7. Series Record: Elon leads, 52-38.
GAME NOTES: The Elon Phoenix will try to bounce back from a three-game losing streak this afternoon when they host the Western Carolina Catamounts in a Southern Conference showdown at Alumni Gym.
Western Carolina's season has been a struggle all around as it has gone just 11-17 overall and 5-10 in the Southern Conference. The Catamounts had lost seven of their previous eight games before getting back on track on Thursday against The Citadel, 70-53.
Elon has fared better, going 13-13 overall and 8-7 in conference, which is good enough for second place in the SoCon North Division standings. The Phoenix had won five of their previous six games before sliding into their current three-game skid. They lost at Wofford on Wednesday, 72-59.
In 90 all-time meetings, Elon holds a 52-38 advantage in the series. The Phoenix snapped a three-game series winning streak by the Catamounts when they claimed a 71-63 victory on January 26.
Western Carolina gives up roughly the same number of points it generates (69.5 to 69.3 ppg), and though both figures rank in the middle of the pack in the Southern Conference, its 41.4 percent field goal shooting ranks next-to-last. The Catamounts continued with their struggles from the floor in Thursday's game by shooting 37.8 percent, but they were able to overcome it by attempting a whopping 74 shots in the win. Harouna Mutombo scored a season-high 24 points in the game, and on the season leads the team in both scoring (13.1 ppg) and rebounding (5.8 rpg). Trey Sumier (12.4 ppg, 3.6 apg), Keaton Cole (11.6 ppg) and Brandon Boggs (10.6 ppg) all contribute to the balanced attack. Cole leads the conference in three-pointers (86) and ranks in the top-10 in three-point FG percentage (.394). WCU leads the league in both steals (8.3 spg) and turnover margin (+1.64).
Elon possesses a slightly better offense than Western Carolina (70.3 ppg), but also a slightly worse defense (69.5 ppg). The Phoenix had seen better days in the loss to Wofford on Thursday, and while they shot an impressive 48.1 percent from the floor, they connected on just 4-of-15 three-point attempts and committed 15 turnovers. Jack Isenbarger scored 17 points in the defeat, his 10th straight game in double figures. The Phoenix have five players scoring at least 9.7 ppg, led by Isenbarger (13.7 ppg, 2.5 three-pointers per game), Lucas Troutman (12.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and Austin Hamilton (10.8 ppg, 3.2 apg). Elon has exactly the same amount of giveaways as takeaways this season (352), resulting in a rare turnover margin of zero.
After losing all three games during its losing streak on the road, Elon is anxious to be back home where it is 9-3 this year. Expect the Phoenix to get back on track against the Catamounts, who have been dreadful on the road this year.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Elon 72, Western Carolina 65
02/18 10:44:01 ET