Elon (6-6) at Florida Atlantic (3-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 22, 1 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: FAU Arena (5,000) -- Boca Raton, Florida. Television: None. Home Record: Elon 5-1, FAU 3-1. Away Record: Elon 1-3, FAU 0-6. Neutral Record: Elon 0-2, FAU 0-2. Conference Record: Elon 0-0, FAU 0-0. Series Record: Elon leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: After putting up a school record 126 points last time out, the Elon Phoenix will try to recapture the magic when they take on the Florida Atlantic Owls at FAU Arena on Sunday afternoon.
The Phoenix didn't seem to miss last time out as they rolled over USCAA foe Central Penn College, 126-78. The win ended a two-game slide for Elon, which is an even 6-6 overall, though it has gone just 1-3 on the road. The Phoenix face a big challenge next against No. 8 Duke before Southern Conference play begins.
FAU was unable to end a losing streak of its own as it fell to Stetson, 64-62, on Tuesday. The setback was the third straight for the Owls, who are sitting at just 3-9 overall. The good news in this matchup at least, is that they have earned all three of their wins at FAU Arena, where they will be again next versus Warner Southern.
Elon topped FAU 62-59, in overtime in the first-ever meeting between these programs last season.
Six players scored in double figures and the Phoenix connected on 58.6 percent of their field goal tries to earn the lopsided win over Central Penn. Elon scored 78 points in the paint and also enjoyed a 61-35 edge on the boards. Sebastian Koch finished with 21 points as the leading scorer.
Although getting back over the century mark is probably too much to ask, Elon is likely to produce in most games. The Phoenix lead all SoCon teams in scoring (82.6 ppg) while ranking 10th in the nation in field-goal percentage (.504). Lucas Troutman (16.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg) is the primary scorer for the unit. He was able to take more of a complementary role against Central Penn yet still finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. Koch (13.9 ppg, 3.4 apg) and Tanner Samson (13.2 ppg) lend scoring depth out of the backcourt, while Ryley Beaumont (10.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg) teams with Troutman on the interior.
FAU led for nearly the entire second half until Raymone Andrews nailed a 3- pointer to push Stetson ahead, 62-60, with 2:18 to play. Although the Owls tied it up with 24 seconds left, a last second layup for the Hatters sent FAU away without the victory.
The Owls don't have the same type of gaudy offensive numbers as Elon does. They are only netting 68.1 points per game and shooting at a 42.4 percent pace, ranking among the very bottom teams in Conference USA. The Owls are also weak on the boards (37.8 pg). Pablo Bertone (19.9 ppg) seems to be the only real scoring threat on the roster. That isn't such a bad thing considering he has at least 16 points in all but two games this season. Bertone finished with 18 points against Stetson, but connected on just 7-of-19 field-goal attempts. Jackson Trapp (9.8 ppg) represents the second best option, though his erratic shooting (.336) has kept him from being more successful.
With a larger stable of scorers and a more effective offensive gameplan, the Phoenix should be able to overwhelm the Owls, even on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Elon 78, Florida Atlantic 66
12/22 10:31:21 ET