ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s basketball team concludes its three-game homestand this Saturday, Jan. 28, as the Phoenix hosts Drexel in a Colonial Athletic Association contest at Schar Center. Game time is set for 4 p.m.
HOW TO FOLLOW
• Saturday’s game will be streamed live on FloHoops via a paid subscription.
• Listen to the game on the Elon Sports Network from Learfield on The Varsity Network app.
• Longtime voice of the Phoenix, Taylor Durham, will be on the call with the pregame show beginning at 3:30 p.m.
• Links for the broadcast and live stats can be found on the Elon men’s basketball schedule page at elonphoenix.com.
• Other in-game updates will be provided on Twitter by following @ElonMBasketball.
SUITS AND SNEAKERS WEEK
• Elon men’s basketball will participate in Suits and Sneakers Week (Jan. 23-29) as a part of the Coaches vs. Cancer program, a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
• Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Week is a nationwide event that unites coaches across the country to raise funds and awareness about the fight against cancer and promotes the American Cancer Society as a source of inspiration and hope for those facing cancer. While coaching games during the week, coaches wear sneakers with their game attire as a visible reminder of their support of the American Cancer Society.
• Elon and Drexel will meet for the 19th time in their histories on Saturday and the second time this season with the Dragons owning an 11-7 advantage.
• Drexel won the first matchup of the season, 62-50, on Dec. 29, in the CAA opener for both schools. Sean Halloran and Sam Sherry both had 11 points to lead the Phoenix, which was held to its lowest point total of the season so far.
• The loss at Drexel also gave the maroon and gold a 3-6 ledger in CAA openers. The Dragons have also won four straight in the series and eight out of their last nine.
• The Phoenix’s last win in the series came during the 2019-20 season as Elon earned a 75-70 victory on Feb. 15, 2020. Marcus Sheffield scored a game-high 24 points to lead three double-digit Phoenix scorers as Hunter McIntosh added 18 and Hunter Woods contributed with 14.
• Drexel is 6-4 all-time in contests at Elon including a 3-1 ledger at Schar Center.
LAST TIME OUT
• Elon hosted Hofstra on Thursday, Jan. 26, in the second game of its three-game homestand. Despite holding a first-half lead and receiving a new season-high point total from Halloran, the Phoenix was handed an 82-65 setback at the hands of the Pride.
• Halloran scored 24 points in the contest to lead the Phoenix, besting his previous season-high of 21 that he scored versus North Dakota on Nov. 17. The Orlando, Fla., native also tied his season-high with four three-pointers.
• Torrence Watson posted the first double-double of his career as the St. Louis native had 12 points and a career-best 11 rebounds for the Phoenix, who outrebounded the Pride 38-27.
• Hofstra’s Aaron Estrada scored a career-high 40 points for the Pride, tying the single-game mark at Schar Center. Estrada was 16-of-25 from the field, including going 8-of-15 from three-point range.
• Elon held Hofstra without a make from the free throw line as the Pride went 0-for-1 from the charity stripe. The last time a Phoenix opponent did not make a free throw was on Nov. 11, 2017, when William Peace also went 0-for-1.
• The Phoenix dominated the Pride in offensive rebounds (13-2), second-chance points (9-0), points in the paint (30-18) and bench points (14-9).
• Elon is averaging 65.5 points per game and ranks third in the CAA in fastbreak points at 9.57 points per contest.
• Halloran leads the Phoenix in scoring at 13.1 points per game and has scored in double figures 16 times this year. His 88 total assists rank fourth in the CAA while his 4.2 assist average is the highest for the program since Luke Eddy also averaged 4.5 assists per game during the 2015-16 season.
• Halloran leads the CAA in total steals (45) and is second in steals per game (2.1). He is 21st in the nation in steals per game. The graduate student has 14 games of two or more steals and nine of three or more thefts. His steals per game average would be the best single-season performance in school history at the Division I era, besting Scottie Rice’s 2.0 SPG average in 2002-03.
• Zac Ervin continues to be the Phoenix’s leading three-point maker with his team-best 50 treys on the year at a 33.6 percent clip. The Gate City, Va., native is second on the team in scoring at 11.1 points per game with the senior bumping that average to 12 ppg during CAA play.
• Max Mackinnon is third on the team in scoring at 10.6 points per game while also being the Phoenix’s leading rebounder at 5.1 boards per contest. The Brisbane, Australia, native tied his season-high with six assists against the Pride on Thursday and is second on the squad in assists (42) and steals (24).
• Jerald Gillens-Butler continues his recovery back into the Phoenix’s lineup after missing the first half of the season due to injury. The Orlando, Fla., native has started the past five games and is averaging 6.4 points per game during that stretch. He is averaging 11.0 in his past two games including a season-high 14 versus Towson last Saturday.
• Watson became the first Phoenix player with a double-double off the bench since Andrew Junkin did so at Hofstra last season. He is fourth on the team in scoring at 9.4 points per game and ranks second on the team in rebounding at 5.0 boards per contest.
• Health has been a major storyline for the Phoenix this season. Five players – Halloran, Ervin, Sam Sherry, Bowen III and LA Pratt – have appeared in all 21 games so far for the Phoenix. Elon has also had three scholarship players – Gillens-Butler, Junkin and Deandre Smart – miss ten or more games this season with long-term injuries.
• After losing 73 percent of its scoring from last year’s team, 52 percent of Elon’s points scored this year has come from members who did not appear in a game for the Phoenix last season (710 of 1376).
• The Dragons are 12-9 overall and 6-3 in the CAA standings, which is fifth overall in the league. Drexel suffered a 68-55 setback at North Carolina A&T on Thursday, snapping its three-game winning streak.
• Drexel is one of the best defensive teams in the nation, ranking 17th overall in scoring defense at 61.3 points per game. On the offensive end, the Dragons are averaging 67.0 points per game while shooting 42.6 percent from the floor and 32.7 percent from three. Drexel also leads the CAA in turnover margin (1.90) and is second in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.14).
• Reigning CAA Defensive Player of the Year Amari Williams leads the Dragons in nearly every statistical category including points per game (13.6), rebounds per game (8.3), steals (30) and blocked shots (45), which is best in the league and 19th overall in the country. He is also second on the team in assists with 46.
• Coletrane Washington is the other double-figure scorer for the Dragons at 10.4 points per game. The fifth-year guard is averaging a team-high 32.5 minutes per game and has knocked down a team-best 41 treys. Three other players – Justin Moore (9.4), Lamar Oden Jr. (8.6) and Luke House (7.7) – are averaging over 7.5 points per game.
• Drexel is led by head coach Zach Spiker, who is in his seventh season of leading the Dragons men’s basketball program. Spiker has posted an overall record of 190-224, including an 88-112 mark at Drexel. He led the Dragons to the 2020-21 CAA Tournament Title after defeating the Phoenix in the league’s championship game for the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 1996.
ELON BASKETBALL LIVE RETURNS
• With the start of the new calendar year coinciding with the beginning of Colonial Athletic Association play, Elon Basketball Live presented by MaGerks returned on Monday, Jan. 9. The show will take place at MaGerks Pub & Grill in Elon.
• Elon Basketball Live is the exclusive chance for fans to hear directly from head women’s basketball coach Charlotte Smith and head men’s basketball coach Billy Taylor all winter long. The longtime voice of the Phoenix, Taylor Durham, will chat with both Smith and Taylor, along with player guests, about recent and upcoming games.
• Fans are invited to attend the broadcast live and can also listen via The Varsity Network app on their phone or smart device. The show will also be available on Tuesday morning via The Voices of Elon Athletics Podcast on Spotify.
TICKETS ON SALE
• Season tickets are now on sale for $170 for men’s basketball.
• Single-game tickets are now on sale! Single-game tickets begin at $15 for men’s basketball.
• Fans are able to purchase a book of 10 ticket vouchers for $75. These vouchers are redeemable for a ticket to any Elon men’s or women’s basketball regular season home game. Use all 10 for any one game, or use one voucher for 10 different games. Fans will also receive an Elon mini autographed basketball from the head coaches. These tickets represent a 50 percent savings for men’s basketball tickets and a 25 percent savings for women’s basketball vs. single-game prices.
• Ticket vouchers must be redeemed for a reserved seat ticket prior to entry. This can be done at the Schar Center Box Office during regular business hours (M-F, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.) or starting 90 minutes prior to tipoff.
• For more information, visit ElonTickets.com or call the Elon Ticket Office at 336-278-6750.
LAUNCHING THE BILLY TAYLOR ERA
• Billy Taylor was named the 19th head coach of the Phoenix on April 15, 2022. Taylor arrived to the Phoenix after spending the past three seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Iowa.
• Prior to working with the Hawkeyes, Taylor spent five years as head coach at Lehigh University followed by six seasons as the head coach at Ball State University and three at Belmont Abbey College.
• In his time at Iowa, the Hawkeyes ranked as one of the top offensive teams in the country, ranking fifth nationally in scoring average in both 2021 (83.7) and 2022 (83.2). The program also led the country in assist-to-turnover ratio in both seasons.
• Taylor was a two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year (2003, 2004) and led Lehigh to both the regular season and tournament titles in 2004, earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament that season. He also guided Ball State to the 2009 MAC West Division crown.
• Elon welcomes back seven letterwinners from last year’s team including five upperclassmen. Among the notable returners for the maroon and gold includes graduate student Torrence Watson and senior Zac Ervin. Both players are the leading returning scorers for Elon at 9.2 and 7.1 points per game, respectively.
• The Phoenix also welcomes back redshirt Jerald Gillens-Butler, who hopes to return to form after being named an All-Colonial Athletic Association honorable mention prior to last year. The Orlando, Fla., native appeared in only 10 games last year after missing most of the prior season due to an injury.
• A pair of graduate transfers will look to make an immediate impact for the Phoenix this season. Sean Halloran arrives to the Phoenix after an outstanding four-year career at Belmont Abbey. The Orlando, Fla., native finished as the all-time career assist leader with the Crusaders while helping the program to back-to-back Conference Carolinas Tournament Championships and three straight NCAA tournament appearances. He rounded out his career averaging 14.4 points per game as a senior and concluded his career with 1,422 points.
• Another graduate transfer, John Bowen III, brings size to the Phoenix front line at 6-foot-9 and 215 pounds. The Bladenboro, N.C., native last played at UNCW in 2019-20 and appeared in 28 out of 32 games. Prior to UNCW, Bowen III was a teammate of Halloran’s at Belmont Abbey and averaged 8.9 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per contest in 2018-19 while starting 27 of 28 games.
• A pair of freshmen will also look to make an impact for the maroon and gold in 2022-23. Max Mackinnon is a 6-foot-5 swingman from Brisbane, Australia, where he won back-to-back gold medals with the U20 Australian National Team. He was also named an All-Star 5 at the Australian National Championship.
• Another freshman, LA Pratt, is a 6-foot-5 guard from Columbus, Ohio, who was a three-time All-4A Team member and three-time conference champion at Lincoln Park High School. He scored over 1,000 points in high school and helped guide the program to two WPIAL Championship appearances and two State Semifinal appearances.
Elon begins a three-game road swing with a visit to league newcomer Stony Brook on Thursday, Feb. 2. That game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
— ELON —
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