GAME NOTES: The Elon Phoenix and Appalachian State Mountaineers hook up for another Southern Conference meeting at George M. Holmes Convocation Center on Saturday afternoon.
Appalachian State and Elon have an extensive history as two Southern Conference powers, but the Mountaineers hold an all-time series lead, 53-43. Elon has won three of the last four meetings, however, including a 75-66 decision earlier this month.
Elon put the brakes on a three-game slide on Thursday and evened its record with a convincing 74-60 win over a tough Western Carolina club.
The Phoenix made 54.5 percent of its shots from the floor, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range, in racing out to a 35-20 halftime lead, and never looked back. Western Carolina did not shoot a free throw, was outscored in the paint 30-14, and netted just 12 points off turnovers to Elon's 24.
Lucas Troutman logged a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double to lead five players in double figures for the Phoenix. Tanner Samson netted 15 points, Sebastian Koch had 13, and Kevin Blake and Jack Isenbarger chipped in 12 and 11, respectively, in the win.
Troutman leads the team in scoring this season with a 15.5 ppg average and an impressive .523 shooting percentage from the field. Troutman's 6.2 rpg mark is a team-best as well, along with 40 blocked shots. Koch is second in scoring at 12.8 ppg, and Samson is third at 10.4 ppg.
Much like Elon, the Governors came storming out of the gates against UNC Greensboro on Thursday, but unlike the Phoenix, they saw their 13-point halftime lead evaporate in a debilitating 66-61 loss.
UNCG exploded in the second half, hitting 56.7 percent of its shots from the floor, including 7-of-11 from 3-point distance, and ended the game on an 8-2 run to pull off the come-from-behind victory and snap the Governors' modest two-game win streak.
Tommy Spagnolo recorded a double-double for Appalachian State with 15 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. Leading scorer Tabarris Hamilton (13.3 ppg) was held to eight points on 3-of-12 shooting.
ASU's second-best scoring option, Tevin Baskin (10.5 ppg), returned after missing the previous two games with an injury, but played just four minutes. Mike Neal (10.3 ppg), who has filled in for Baskin in the starting lineup, shot a woeful 2-of-13 from the field in the latest setback.
The Governors must recover quickly from their heartbreaking loss, and Elon will be a tough test. If Baskin can return to full health, however, ASU should have enough firepower to knock off Elon's inconsistent bunch. The Phoenix has lost six straight in Boone, with its last victory coming on Jan. 13, 2007.
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