FACTS & STATS: Site: Colonial Life Arena (18,000) -- Columbia, South Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: Elon 3-0, South Carolina 3-0. Away Record: Elon 0-1, South Carolina 0-0. Neutral Record: Elon 0-0, South Carolina 0-0. Conference Record: Elon 0-0, South Carolina 0-0. Series Record: South Carolina leads, 2-1
GAME NOTES: The South Carolina Gamecocks look to continue their perfect start to the season as they welcome the Elon Phoenix to Colonial Life Arena for non- conference action on Wednesday.
Elon is off to a 3-1 start for the second consecutive season. It marks the first time the program has started back-to-back seasons with a 3-1 mark since the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons. The Phoenix opened up the season with a 15- point loss to the Butler Bulldogs in Hinkle Fieldhouse. Matt Matheny's team has since rattled off three straight victories over Division III Bridgewater (95-51), Colgate (81-72), and FAU (62-59). The games with Colgate and FAU were Maui Invitational Regional Games.
The Gamecocks are 3-0 for the first time since the 2009-2010 campaign after they took down Rider for a 12-point win on Monday. South Carolina opened up the season with a hard-fought overtime victory over the Jordan Aaron-led Milwaukee Panthers. It then went on to handle Morgan State prior to playing the Broncs. Coach Frank Martin has brought the toughness and fire that turned Kansas State into a perennial top 25 team with him from Manhattan. Martin compiled a 117-54 overall record in five seasons with the Wildcats.
This will be just the fourth meeting in history between these schools. The Gamecocks hold a narrow 2-1 edge in the all-time series after Elon picked up a 58-53 victory in last season's encounter.
Elon has a very balanced attack as four starters are carrying double-digit scoring averages and the fifth is adding 9.8 ppg. The result is a team average of 74.3 ppg. Although he struggled from the field to get there (6-of-22 FG, 2- of-11 3PT), Jack Isenbarger paced them with 16 points in the team's recent win over FAU. The junior guard has the green light to keep firing after scoring 14.5 ppg on 44.5 percent shooting from the floor last season. Lucas Troutman, Ryley Beaumont, and Sebastian Koch all returned to the starting lineup with Isenbarger and all three have improved their scoring averages. The 6-10 Troutman has been very imposing inside with 1 points and 5.8 boards per contest. Sophomore guard Austin Hamilton is the new addition to the starting five, but his lightning quick first step and all-around hustle have made him a nice fixture in Elon's system.
South Carolina's offense has been unstoppable so far with an average of 85.7 ppg on 50 percent shooting from the floor. It is also knocking down 35.2 percent of its three-point attempts and 81.7 percent of its foul shots. Martin's team showed it can be very physical on the boards and dangerous from beyond the arc versus Rider by holding a 31-21 advantage in the rebounding battle and connecting on 13-of-27 from three-point range. Junior guard Brenton Williams paced the team with 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the floor in the contest. Williams is third on the team in scoring average behind LaShay Page and Michael Carrera, who both score 17 ppg. Page is a shifty guard that transferred to Columbia after leading Southern Miss to the NCAA Tournament last season. Carrera was unbelievable in his college debut with 17 points and 15 rebounds versus Milwaukee. The 6-5 forward from Venezuela was named the SEC freshman of the week for his outburst, but he missed the next two games with a concussion he sustained in practice. If he returns, it could be trouble for Elon.
The Gamecocks are a program on the rise with Martin at the helm. The former KSU coach is a proven winner that not only excels in recruiting, but also gets the most out of his players. While Elon is a decent mid-major team at the moment, it will take a big-time effort to hand South Carolina its first loss in its own house.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Carolina 81, Elon 71
11/21 10:33:29 ET
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