ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s basketball team opens Colonial Athletic Association play on Thursday, Dec. 29, as the Phoenix travels to Philadelphia to face Drexel. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
HOW TO FOLLOW
• Thursday’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.
• Elon and Drexel will meet for the 18th time on Thursday with the Dragons holding a slight 9-8 advantage over the Phoenix in a battle between mythical creatures. The contest is also a matchup between the two teams that met in the 2020-21 CAA Championship final.
• Elon will face Drexel in a league opener for the third time since joining the CAA in 2014-15 (2015, 2017). The Phoenix is 2-0 in those matchups.
• The Dragons have won three straight in the series and seven out of the past eight games including a 71-60 victory at Elon in the last meeting.
• The Phoenix’s last win in the series came on Feb. 15, 2020, with Elon coming away with a 75-70 victory at Schar Center. Marcus Sheffield led the Phoenix with 24 points while Hunter McIntosh added 18 points.
LAST TIME OUT
• Elon fell at No. 18/21 Indiana, 96-72, in its final game before the holiday break and the third game of its current five-game road trip.
• Freshman Max Mackinnon had a game-high 19 points for the Phoenix while also pacing the squad with six rebounds. Sean Halloran had 15 points and six assists while Zac Ervin contributed with 12 points off the bench.
• Elon had its second-best shooting performance of the season against the Hoosiers, hitting 47.2 percent of its shots. The maroon and gold also shot well from three-point range, hitting 10-of-24 at 41.7 percent.
MACKINNON NAMED CAA CO-ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
• For his efforts against the Hoosiers, Mackinnon was named the CAA Co-Rookie of the Week as announced by the league office on Monday, Dec. 26.
• Mackinnon’s 19 points were the most for an Elon freshman against a ranked opponent since Hunter Woods had 18 at #5 North Carolina in 2019. It’s also the second-highest point total that a freshman has scored against the Hoosiers this season. Kansas’ Gradey Dick had 20 against Indiana on Dec. 17.
• Mackinnon shared the weekly honor with Northeastern’s Jared Turner. He also became the first Elon freshman to earn CAA Rookie of the Week honors since Darius Burford in 2021.
• Elon is 3-5 all-time in its CAA league openers with two of those victories coming against Drexel. The Phoenix’s other conference-opening win came against Northeastern last season.
• The Phoenix is averaging 68.9 points per game and is second in the CAA in fastbreak points at 11.0 per game.
• Halloran leads the Phoenix in scoring at 13.3 points per game and in assists with 64. His 4.9 assist average is the highest for the program since Luke Eddy averaged 4.5 assists per game during the 2015-16 season and would be the second-best single-season average at the program’s Division I level.
• Halloran is second in the CAA in steals at 2.2 per game. That 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. The Orlando, Fla., native has 10 steals in his past three games.
• Mackinnon is second on the team in scoring at 11.5 points per game while leading the Phoenix on the boards with 5.1 rebounds per game. The Brisbane, Australia, native has scored 18-plus points in four of his past six outings and is averaging 15.7 points per game during that stretch.
• Sam Sherry has been averaging 12.0 points per game and shooting nearly 61 percent from the floor (42-of-69) since joining the starting lineup nine games ago. The Mechanicsburg, Pa., native has scored at least seven points in his past seven games.
• Ervin ranks third on the team in scoring at 10.6 points per game and leads the team with 31 triples on the season.
• Factoring true road contests, Elon’s current five-game road trip is the program’s longest since enduring a four-game stretch in December of 2017. The Phoenix started that trip at Piedmont Triad rival UNCG before traveling to Boston College, Canisius and Indiana State.
• 55 percent of Elon’s points scored this year has come from members who did not appear in a game for the Phoenix last season (494 of 896).
• The Dragons are 6-6 on the season including a 4-2 ledger at home this season. Drexel last played versus Delaware State on Dec. 17, earning an 85-52 win.
• Drexel was selected to finish seventh overall in the 2022-23 CAA Preseason Poll after coming off a 15-14 record the previous season and a 10-8 mark in the CAA.
• Junior Amari Williams leads the Dragons in scoring at 14.5 points per game, rebounds (8.4), assists (24), blocked shots (21) and steals (21). The reigning CAA Defensive Player of the Year was a third team All-CAA selection last season and was tabbed to the All-CAA Preseason second team this season.
• Fifth-year guard Coletrane Washington is second on the team at 12.8 points per game and has knocked down a team-high 29 treys from beyond the arc.
• Drexel head coach Zach Spiker is in his seventh season at the helm of the Dragons’ basketball program.
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 closes out its five-game road trip with a trip to Delaware on Saturday, Dec. 31, for a New Year’s Eve matchup with the Blue Hens. That contest is set to begin at 2 p.m.
— ELON —
Credit: Source link