GAME NOTES: Coming off their first Southern Conference win of the season, the Furman Paladins take aim at two in a row, as they take on the Elon Phoenix in league action at Alumni Gym on Thursday.
Jeff Jackson's Paladins have found wins hard to come by this season. The team was able to halt a six-game slide with Monday's 69-65 home win against Wofford, but it was just the fourth victory on the year for Furman and first in four league bouts.
Matt Matheny's Phoenix have had their ups and downs this season and as a result, sit two games over .500 at 9-7 overall. Elon has split its first four conference games and enters this contest off an 80-67 victory at Western Carolina on Monday.
This marks the 13th all-time meeting between these two teams. Elon holds an 8-4 series advantage, including a 5-2 mark at home against Furman.
Furman came out of the gates on fire against Wofford, shooting a hefty .571 from the floor in the first half, including 7-of-11 from 3-point range, to take a 40-25 lead into intermission. The strong shooting continued after the break, at an even better .588 clip, but the Paladins still had to hold on for a four-point win. Kendrec Ferrara led the way in the win with 17 points. Larry Wideman finished with 11 points, while Bryant Irwin checked in with 10.
One look at the team's current scoring margin (-7.8) and its easy to see why wins haven't come in bunches for Furman this season. The performance against Wofford this week was a bit of an anomaly, as the Paladins are netting just 61.3 ppg overall, on a rather disappointing .406 shooting. Colin Reddick is really the only reliable offensive threat on the team, averaging 11.9 ppg on a healthy .528 shooting. He is also the team's top rebounder (6.0 rpg). Stephen Croone is second in the scoring column (8.5 ppg) and serves as the team's top distributor (4.5 apg).
Elon isn't an offensive juggernaut by any stretch, averaging just under 70 points per game this season, but the team has much more scoring depth and possesses a starting five that has been intact for 15 of the 16 games thus far. Lucas Troutman leads a trio of double-figure scorers on the year with 15.1 ppg. Jack Isenbarger is next at 14.4 ppg, followed by Ryley Beaumont at 10.6 ppg. Beaumont is the team's top rebounder, followed closely by Troutman, with 6.6 and 6.0 rpg, respectively.
Elon trailed Western Carolina by four points at the half, but found its range over the final 20 minutes, shooting 57.1 percent in the second half, including 6-of-12 from 3-point range to run away with the win. Troutman was outstanding in victory, recording a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Isenbarger added 16 points and Sebastian Koch finished with 15, as the pair combined for seven 3-pointers. Beaumont rounded out the top scorers with 12 points.
Furman hasn't won a road game this season and playing an Elon team with a strong starting five doesn't bode well for the Paladins.