Elon (6-3) vs. Massachusetts (4-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 15, 12 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: MassMutual Center (8,000) -- Springfield, Massachusetts. Television: None. Home Record: Elon 4-1, UMass 1-1. Away Record: Elon 2-2, UMass 2-0. Neutral Record: Elon 0-0, UMass 1-2. Conference Record: Elon 1-1, UMass 0-0. Series Record: UMass leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Elon Phoenix and Massachusetts Minutemen both get back to action on Saturday afternoon, as they are set to square off in a non- conference tilt at the MassMutual Center.
Both teams are coming off an 11-day break for final exams. Elon last notched a 71-49 win over Dartmouth on Dec. 4. This contest begins a three-game road swing for the Phoenix, who will next face second-ranked Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Thursday. The Phoenix could certainly use a win to enter that matchup with some momentum, although they are just 2-16 all-time against teams from the Atlantic 10 Conference.
UMass has been idle since notching a 72-66 win at Northeastern last Tuesday. The victory was the second in the last three tries for the Minutemen, who have not been able to string together back-to-back wins since opening the season 2-0. They won't leave the state of Massachusetts again until Dec. 29 at Northern Illinois, marking a span of more than one month between ventures outside the state.
UMass notched an 85-67 win over the Phoenix last season in Amherst, in what was the only previous meeting between these two programs. This weekend's contest is the 2012 Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase game.
Elon dialed up the defense against Dartmouth, holding the Big Green to a season-low 27.9-percent shooting from the field and a 1-of-19 effort from beyond the arc. The Phoenix forced a dozen turnovers while committing only eight, their second-lowest total in a game this season. Jack Isenbarger and Lucas Troutman shared team-high scoring honors with 15 points apiece in the victory. Troutman added eight rebounds, three blocks and three steals to his stat line, while Isenbarger had a rough day from beyond the arc, making only 1-of-9 attempts. Austin Hamilton added 11 points, while Ryley Beaumont recorded a double-double with 10 points and 12 boards. On the season, Troutman leads the team with 14.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Isenbarger is averaging 13.9 ppg, while Beaumont has chipped in with 9.9 ppg and 5.9 rpg.
UMass junior guard Jesse Morgan got hot late against Northeastern last Tuesday, scoring 12 of his 18 points in the final seven minutes to earn the road win. His fourth 3-pointer of the game knotted the score at 62-62, and the Minutemen secured the win with free throws down the stretch. Morgan shared game-high scoring honors with teammate Chaz Williams, who also added a late bucket to help seal the outcome. Sampson Carter tallied 14 points and six boards in the victory. UMass was also aided by a brutal shooting effort by Northeastern, which converted a mere 3-of-27 attempts from beyond the arc (11.1 percent). On the season, Williams paces the squad with 15.7 ppg to go along with 5.1 rpg. Morgan is posting 15.3 ppg, while Terrell Vinson is averaging 12.0 points and a team-best 5.6 rebounds.
Both teams will be well rested for this matchup. While the Phoenix have been solid in the early going, last year's 18-point loss to UMass looms large.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Massachusetts 74, Elon 64
12/15 10:34:01 ET