GAME NOTES: The Elon Phoenix aim to snap a two-game skid when they battle the Samford Bulldogs in Southern Conference action from the Pete Hanna Center tonight.
Elon suffered an 84-63 defeat at Chattanooga on Thursday. Sebastian Koch and Luke Eddy netted 11 points apiece for the Phoenix, while Lucas Troutman and Tanner Samson each contributed 10 points in the loss.
The Phoenix are second in the SoCon in scoring at 77.1 ppg and are led by four players averaging double figures, topped by Troutman (15.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg), who is fourth in the conference thank to his 52.4 percent effort from the field. Koch (13.2 ppg), Samson (10.3 ppg) and Ryley Beaumont (10.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg) are also part of the potent starting lineup, that is rounded out by 5-foot-10 junior guard Austin Hamilton. Troutman has scored in double figures in 15 of the last 17 games, and has scored 20 or more points in nine of those contests. Getting out to a quick start has been the key for the Phoenix, as they are 8-1 this season when leading at the half. They are also 7-1 when shooting better than 50 percent from the field. Koch is shooting 46.4 percent from beyond the arc, which is second-best in the conference.
Samford has won two of its last three contests and is coming off an 88-78 home triumph over UNC Greensboro on Thursday. Tim Williams had a 29-point, 12- rebound effort to lead the Bulldogs. Isaiah Williams scored 19 points on just eight field goal attempts and dished out five assists. Substitute Raijon Kelly scored 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting. The 88 points were a season-high for the Bulldogs, who average only 70 for the season while allowing 76.2 ppg. That defensive yield is the second-worst in the SoCon, only ahead of Davidson (78.4 ppg).
Tim Williams (17.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and Isaiah Williams (12.7 ppg) lead the way offensively for Samford, while Kelly (9.7 ppg) and Tyler Hood (9.1 ppg) are other key factors in Bennie Seltzer's offense. Tim Williams is at the top of the SoCon by making 60 percent of his shots from the floor. The 6-foot-8 sophomore also has 30 blocks on the season.
Elon was predicted to finish first in both Southern Conference preseason polls this year, but is already off to a rough start following losses against Chattanooga and Western Carolina. This could be the final SoCon visit to Samford for the Phoenix, who will join the Colonial Athletic Association next season. Elon, which this year is the top 3-point shooting team in the SoCon, won both meetings against Samford last season, including clinching the North Division title on Feb. 21, 2013 on the road with a 63-62 win. That was the only win for Elon though at the Pete Hanna Center in five all-time tries.
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