GAME NOTES: The Elon Phoenix close out their road slate on Monday night, as they take on the Furman Paladins in Southern Conference action at Timmons Arena.
Every team is chasing Davidson (13-1) in the SoCon standings, but Elon is one of the few still within striking distance of the top spot in the conference. The Phoenix enter this game with a seven-game win streak after edging out Georgia Southern on Saturday, 66-61. With the win, Elon moved to 10-3 in league play, two games behind the Wildcats in the loss column.
Furman is not one of the SoCon teams still in the hunt, The Paladins reside just outside of the conference cellar, sitting in 10th place with a mere 3-11 league mark. Furman has shown signs of a pulse lately however, with two wins in the last three games, including a 68-53 rout of Appalachian State on Saturday.
This marks the 15th all-time meeting between these two teams. Elon holds a 10-4 series advantage. This is the lone meeting between the programs this season. This game was originally scheduled for Feb. 12 but moved due to inclement weather.
The Phoenix are on a roll as the season winds down and it continued in the win over Georgia Southern. Both Lucas Troutman and Jack Isenbarger had strong outings and reached milestones in the win. Troutman, who poured in 20 points in the win and moved into 10th place on the school's all-time scoring list. Isenbarger, who finished with 14 points, hit four 3-pointers and is now tied atop the school's all-time list for career makes from beyond the arc. Tanner Samson finished in double digits as well in the win, posting 12 points for Elon, which shot .473 from the field.
The offensive numbers have been impressive this season for Elon, which enters this game netting 75.8 ppg on a healthy .470 shooting. The 3-pointer is an important part of the Phoenix's arsenal, with the team averaging 8.4 makes per game from long range. Troutman is closing out a tremendous career with an impressive senior campaign. The 6-foot-10 forward is shooting .535 from the field and leads Elon in both scoring (15.7 ppg) and rebounding (6.4 rpg). Sebastian Koch (12.5 ppg) and Ryley Beaumont (10.4 ppg) are also averaging double figures. Koch has been lethal from beyond the arc this season, converting at a .444 clip with 75 3-pointers to his credit. Further depth comes in the form of Samson (9.7 ppg) and Isenbarger (9.5 ppg).
The Paladins haven't been quite as effective on the offensive end, coming in averaging 66.0 ppg on .448 efficiency. The ream problem is that the modest scoring totals have not been able to offset the team's deficiencies at the defense end, where Furman allows 73.0 ppg. Sophomore guard Stephen Croone has been outstanding, as the 6-1 youngster ranks second in the conference in scoring at a hefty 19.1 ppg. Unfortunately, he doesn't get a great deal of support, with Kendrec Ferrara ranked a distant second in the scoring column at 10.1 ppg and Larry Wideman at third with 9.6 ppg.
Furman found an offensive groove against Appalachian State this past weekend, shooting 50 percent from the floor overall. The team's accuracy from the floor was much needed, as the Paladins were outrebounded badly (45-31), including allowing the Mountaineers to grab 21 offensive boards. Croone and Keith Belfield tied for team-high honors with 15 points apiece. William Gates added 13 points in the victory.
The Paladins are playing better basketball of late and while Croone is a dynamic scoring threat, Elon possesses much more depth and balance. The Phoenix may not catch Davidson in the conference standings, but can still head into the postseason with plenty of momentum.
Game Date and Time