Elon (1-0) at Marist (0-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 10, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McCann Arena (3,200) -- Poughkeepsie, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Elon 1-0, Marist 0-0. Away Record: Elon 0-0, Marist 0-1. Neutral Record: Elon 0-1, Marist 0-0. Conference Record: Elon 0-0, Marist 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAMES NOTES: In a non-conference matchup on Sunday the Elon Phoenix travel north to take on the Marist Red Foxes at McCann Arena.
Despite the absence of Jack Isenbarger, their second-leading scorer from a year ago, the Phoenix were able to claim an easy 114-64 victory over Washington & Lee in the season opener on Friday. Five players scored in double figures for the Phoenix, as points were plentiful for the victors. Elon was one of three teams in the Southern Conference to earn at least 20 wins a year ago but finds itself looking at a thinner field this year after the College of Charleston moved to the Colonial Athletic Association. However the Phoenix will also leave the league next year to join the Cougars.
For Marist, Friday's opener was not as pleasant an experience. The Red Foxes visited in-state foe Stony Brook and were sent away with a 71-55 loss. The primary reason for the loss was the Red Foxes' poor shooting in the second half, when they netted just 28.6 percent of their field goal tries. Missing shots at such a high rate compounded the fact that Marist was on the wrong end of the rebounding margin (43-34). Clearly new head coach Jeff Bower, who has NBA experience, will be trying to coax a much better offensive performance on Sunday, especially from a team that returns four starters from last year's squad.
The beginning of the college basketball season always features a number of first-time matchups and this one fall into that category.
The Phoenix didn't seem to miss Isenbarger in the slightest in their win on Friday. As a team, Elon netted 71.9 percent of its shots from the field, including an impressive 12-of-21 effort from beyond the arc. Leading the way was Sebastian Koch, who built on his strong 3-point shooting last year, by making good on 5-of-7 attempts from beyond the arc en route to a game-high 22 points. Koch also added six assists to match six rebounds. Ryley Beaumont (18 points) and Lucas Troutman (18) were each productive scorers in the contest, especially Troutman, who did not miss a single field goal attempt (7-of-7) or a shot from the free-throw line (4-of-4). Tanner Samson was as lethal as Koch from beyond the arc, knocking down 5-of-7 shots himself, while Christian Hairston came off the bench to score 10 points. The production from the whole roster will be needed as Isenbarger is still listed as out with a right foot injury.
Most of the key players were back for the Red Foxes on Friday night but it didn't look it, as Marist was out of sync all night, making good on just 16- of-53 field goal attempts over the 40 minutes. Chavaughn Lewis, one of the team's better scorers, dropped in 14 points, although he also turned the ball over four times. Lewis was the leading scorer for the Red Foxes last year when he averaged over 15 points per game. Isaiah Morton played the most minutes for Marist on Friday (33) and also led the team in scoring (15 points), though like Lewis he struggled with ball security, turning the ball over five times. Adam Kemp (four points, nine rebounds) was strong on the boards, but considering he was one of three players to average in double figures last year, his offensive output was less than satisfactory. Jay Bowie missed all four of his shots from beyond the arc, but did finish with a solid stat line of eight points and six rebounds.
There is a lot of starting experience back for both of these teams. Elon had an easier challenge in the opener but the team looked in sync, while Marist looked rusty. Unless the Red Foxes fix their issues quickly, the Phoenix have the edge.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Elon 72, Marist 63
11/10 10:51:27 ET