UNC Greensboro (9-21) vs. Elon (20-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 9, 6 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: U.S. Cellular Center (13,080) -- Asheville, North Carolina. Television: ESPN3. Home Record: UNCG 6-9, Elon 12-3. Away Record: UNCG 2-12, Elon 8-6. Neutral Record: UNCG 1-0, Elon 0-1. Conference Record: UNCG 6-12, Elon 13-5. Series Record: Elon leads, 21-13.
GAME NOTES: The 10th-seeded UNC Greensboro Spartans look for their second upset in as many days as they square off with the No. 2 seed Elon Phoenix in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Tournament at the U.S. Cellular Center.
UNCG used a huge second-half effort in which it tallied 55 points to escape its first round matchup with Chattanooga with an 87-81 victory. The Spartans had lost six of their previous seven games prior to the postseason. UNCG, which finished the regular season with a 6-10 mark in SoCon action, has only won the tournament championship once, in 2001.
Elon earned the second seed in the bracket as it set a new Division I era record with 20 wins. The last Phoenix team to reach the 20-win mark was the 1987-88 squad. As his team set a new school-record, Matt Matheny was honored as the SoCon Coach of the Year. The team has improved its total of victories in each of the four seasons he has been at the helm of the program.
Elon is 21-13 all-time against UNCG. The two teams met on March 2, 2013, at Alumni Gym on Senior Night, as the Phoenix collected an 80-66 victory. Elon has won seven straight against the Spartans. The two teams have met just once in the SoCon Tournament back in 2006, when Elon came away with a 64-61 overtime win.
UNCG needed to rally back from an 11-point second-half deficit on Friday to keep its championship hopes alive. Coach Wes Miller's squad was led by senior guard Derrell Armstrong, who scored 22 of his 25 points after halftime. Armstrong connected on 9-of-13 from the field and 4-of-5 from three-point land while also grabbing a game-high eight rebounds. Junior Trevis Simpson netted 17 points and dealt out five assists while Nicholas Paulos and Kayel Locke scored 11 and 10 points, respectively. UNCG finished the contest 29-of-55 (52.7 percent) from the floor and with 12 assists to 10 turnovers. Simpson earned a spot on the All-Southern Conference First Team after leading the team and the league in scoring at 18.8 points per game, becoming the first player to pace the SoCon in scoring in consecutive years since Davidson's Stephen Curry (2006-09). He scored in double figures in 25-of-27 games this season, including 10 games scoring at least 20 points.
Elon had a pair of All-Conference honorees in Lucas Troutman and Jack Isenbarger. Troutman provides a team-best 15.1 ppg on 55 percent shooting from the field to go along with 5.3 boards per tilt. He is also the program's all- time leading shot blocker with 152 in his career. Isenbarger chimes in with 13.7 points and 2.8 assists per outing. The Phoenix own the second-best average scoring margin in the SoCon at +4.9 ppg and limit their opposition to just 41 percent shooting from the field.
The Phoenix proved to be too good during the regular season to expect an upset in this one. Although Simpson is an exceptional talent and Armstrong is an exceptional talent as well, Elon is capable of containing UNCG's duo which will help it advance to see another day.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Elon 70, UNC Greensboro 61
03/09 10:38:29 ET