GAME NOTES: The Elon Phoenix look to bounce back from a two-game losing streak as they host the Appalachian State Mountaineers in Southern Conference action Monday at Alumni Gym.
Appalachian State had a two-game win streak snapped when the team traveled to face Duquesne last Thursday. The Dukes easily disposed of the Mountaineers, 79-55, in Appalachian State's final non-conference game of the season. The good news for the 4-9 Mountaineers is that the Southern Conference is wide open with only one team sporting an above .500 record overall.
Elon has been the definition of an up-and-down team this season, putting together streaks of both wins and losses. The Phoenix are currently on a two- game skid that started with a lopsided loss to Duke, 86-48, on New Year's Eve Day. Elon dropped its SoCon opener to Western Carolina, 74-62, Saturday.
Appalachian State and Elon have an extensive history as two Southern Conference powers, but the Mountaineers hold an all-time series lead, 53-42. Elon has won two of the last three meetings, however.
Appalachian State came out slow against Duquesne, while the Dukes began the contest on fire from the floor, building an early lead and defeating the Mountaineers from the second time in as many meetings. Appalachian State led just once in the entire contest. Tab Hamilton paced the Mountaineers squad with 18 points on a busy 7-of-21 shooting performance, including 4-of-9 from beyond the 3-point arc. Both Jay Canty and Chris Burgess netted 12 points for ASU, and Tommy Spagnolo pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds in the loss. Duquesne scored 16 points off turnovers, which Appalachian State provided plenty of, giving the ball away 14 times in the contest.
The Mountaineers are led by four players that record double-digit point totals on average. Hamilton is the team's scoring leader with 14.1 ppg. Canty, playing in his first game of the season against Duquesne, netted 12 points to boost a dry offensive Mountaineers attack. Michael Obacha paces the Appalachian State team on the boards, bringing down a healthy 9.7 rpg. The big man leads the squad with 10 blocks this season, and averages 5.9 ppg.
Western Carolina forced Elon to commit a season-high 23 turnovers in the team's SoCon opener Saturday, grabbing a lead in the second half and never looking back. The Catamounts prevailed after a late 9-0 run gave them a 17- point cushion. Austin Hamilton had a strong day shooting the ball, connecting on 7-of-9 attempts from the floor to pace the Phoenix with 19 points on the day. Sebastian Koch contributed 16 points (4-of-5 from 3-point range) and nine rebounds, while Lucas Troutman netted 15 and secured nine rebounds and four steals.
Troutman tops the Phoenix in both scoring (15.2 ppg) and rebounds (5.9 rpg) this season. Both Koch (13.3 ppg) and Hamilton (8.7 ppg) top the Phoenix roster in assists, dishing out 3.1 per game. Koch has only missed one free- throw attempt this season in his 19 tries from the line, shooting a strong 94.7 percent from the charity stripe. Troutman shows off his accuracy with a 54.9 percent shooting mark from the floor in 15 games played. As a team, the Phoenix are shooting 48.5 percent from the field and are averaging 77.9 ppg.
Elon is on a bit of a slide, but after the demoralization suffered at the hands of Duke, the Phoenix should be able to rebound in SoCon play at home.
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