Elon (18-8) at Samford (10-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 21, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pete Hanna Center (5,000) -- Birmingham, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: Elon 11-2, Samford 6-5. Away Record: Elon 7-6, Samford 4-10. Neutral Record: Elon 0-0, Samford 0-2. Conference Record: Elon 11-3, Samford 8-6. Series Record: Samford leads, 7-2.
GAMES NOTES: Two teams look to extend winning streaks when the Elon Phoenix battle the Samford Bulldogs in Southern Conference action at the Pete Hanna Center Thursday night.
Elon has ripped off victories in three straight games and seven of its last eight to rise to 18-8 overall and 11-3 in league play. That mark in conference action has the Phoenix atop the North Division and second only to Davidson (15-1) in league play.
As for the Bulldogs, they have won back-to-back games after a four-game losing streak. Even with the brief winning streak Samford is still just 10-17 overall, while closer to the middle of the conference standings with a record of 8-6 against SoCon teams. At home Samford has just a 6-5 record though it has won three of its last four at the Pete Hanna Center.
In a clash earlier this month Elon came away with a 77-66 victory at Alumni Gym for just its second victory all-time against the Bulldogs. Samford now leads the series, 7-2.
This past Saturday Elon outlasted Western Carolina, 80-73, in overtime to keep its winning streak alive. Jack Isenbarger nailed a pair of free throws with 24 seconds left to pull Elon even at the end of regulation as a Trey Sumler buzzer-beater attempt was off the mark. In the extra session the Phoenix hit 3-of-4 shots from the floor and 9-of-13 from the charity stripe to secure the win.
Isenbarger (13.9 ppg) is one of three players scoring in double figures for Elon although he is shooting just 36.4 percent from the floor. Isenbarger's erratic shooting has made him an inconsistent scorer as has been the case lately, failing to score in double figures in three of the last four games. Lucas Troutman (15.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg) is actually the leading scorer on the roster, while Ryley Beaumont (11.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg) helps Troutman anchor the frontcourt. As a team the Phoenix are scoring just under 70 points per game, while handing out the second most assists in the SoCon (13.7 pg). Defensively the Phoenix hold teams to 64.5 points per game on just over 40 percent shooting.
In its last outing, Samford held Furman to just 17 field goals on 37.8 percent shooting in a 64-53 road win over the Paladins. Led by 19 points from Clide Geffrard Jr. and a double-double from Tim Williams, the Bulldogs netted 47.1 percent of their own field-goal attempts, while holding a 37-23 edge in rebounds.
Samford is one of the worst offensive teams in the conference, putting in just 61 points per game. The Bulldogs' rebounding edge against Furman was out of the ordinary for the worst rebounding team in the conference (28.3 pg) and one of the five worst in the nation overall. Raijon Kelly (14.3 ppg, 4.6 apg) and Williams (14.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg) form a solid inside-outside combination as the two top scorers on the roster. Kelly managed 17 points against Furman and has now scored at least 17 points in four of the last five contests. Geffrard (11.1 ppg) has turned it one of late scoring in double figures in a season- long six straight games.
The Phoenix are simply playing better basketball right now and behind Troutman and company, they should earn the road win here.
Sports NEtwork Predicted Outcome: Elon 68, Samford 64
02/21 10:32:36 ET