Metropolitan State (2-0) at Elon (2-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 25, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Gym (1,585) -- Elon, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: MSU 0-0, Elon 1-0. Away Record: MSU 0-0, Elon 1-1. Neutral Record: MSU 2-0, Elon 0-2. Conference Record: MSU 0-0, Elon 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Elon Phoenix return home to Alumni Gym on Monday night to take on the Metropolitan State Roadrunners as part of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Metropolitan State's run in this event have been counted as exhibition contests, so according to its official record it still stands at 2-0 even after last week's trip to Tucson, where it lost to Rhode Island (66-63) and defeated Fairleigh Dickinson (87-76).
Meanwhile, Elon merely wishes that its trek through the NIT Season Tip-Off didn't count towards its overall record, as it dropped two in a row in the event and three straight overall to fall to 2-3. The Phoenix were part of the Piscataway, New Jersey regional early last week and came away with setbacks against Drexel (71-64) and Canisius (86-85).
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two teams.
The Roadrunners were red hot to start their latest contest against Fairleigh Dickinson, as they ran out to a 49-33 lead at intermission and put the game on autopilot from there en route to an 11-point win. They shot an impressive 49.1 percent from the floor, including 8-of-17 from 3-point range, and they also made FDU pay for its foul trouble by draining 23-of-28 at the free-throw line. Mitch McCarron netted 34 points and pulled down 10 rebounds while shooting 11- of-13 from the floor, while Brandon Jefferson (28 points, eight rebounds) was perfect from the charity stripe on 11 attempts. Jamal McClerkin chipped in 10 points to the winning effort. Unfortunately for McCarron, Jefferson and the rest of the Roadrunners, the exhibition win did not count towards their stats.
In its two official games, Metro State is scoring a modest 69.0 points per game, but it has played outstanding defense in allowing just 47.0 points per contest. Jefferson and Nicholas Kay each score 19.0 points per game, while McClerkin (10.0 ppg) and McCarron (7.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg) are also mainstays in the starting lineup.
Elon opened up a lead as big as 11 win under nine minutes to play against Canisius the last time out, but it watched that advantage slide away down the stretch before falling victim to a 3-point field goal at the buzzer to lose in the heartbreaking fashion. Despite shooting 45.6 percent from the field and 88.9 percent from the foul line, Elon was plagued by 15 turnovers, 10 of which came after halftime. Lucas Troutman and Luke Eddy both did their best to lift the team to victory, as each netted 23 points, with Eddie making all 11 of his free-throw attempts. Tanner Samson shot 4-of-6 from 3-point range en route to 16 points, while Ryley Beaumont registered 14 points and five rebounds. The Phoenix have had no issues scoring points this season, as they average more than 81 points per outing on 50.5 percent field goal shooting, and that success is able to mask their minor deficiencies at the other end of the court (70.4 ppg allowed). Troutman has been outstanding in the early going with 17.4 points per game, while Samson (13.0 ppg) has been lethal from beyond the arc at 19-of-36 (.528). Beaumont (12.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg), Sebastian Koch (11.6 ppg, 4.4 apg) and Austin Hamilton (8.6 ppg, 4.0 apg) round out a balanced starting five.
With Elon struggling of late, it is surely happy to be back home, and the team should be able to feed off the energy in Alumni Gym to secure a victory over the visiting Roadrunners.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Elon 83, Metropolitan State 75
11/25 10:33:01 ET