GAME NOTES: The second-seeded Elon Phoenix and the third-seeded College of Charleston Cougars will battle it out to keep their respective NCAA Tournament hopes alive on Sunday when they meet in the semifinal round of the Southern Conference Tournament.
These teams only played once this season way back on Dec. 1. Charleston clipped the Phoenix, 56-54, to collect a road victory and improve to 12-5 all- time versus Elon.
Anthony Thomas scored 18 points and Adjei Baru registered a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds on Saturday to push Charleston to a 78-70 decision over Western Carolina in the quarterfinals. Andrew Lawrence chipped in 16 points in the decision as the Cougars outscored the Catamounts 29-9 from the charity stripe to overcome a game-high 17 turnovers. Coach Doug Wojcik's first year at the helm of the program has already been a success, but his squad may be talented enough to make a run at the tourney title. It has been 14 years since the Cougars last went dancing.
Lucas Troutman tallied a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds as the second-seeded Phoenix held off the No. 10 seeded UNC Greensboro Spartans for a 68-61 victory in the quarterfinals on Saturday. Sebastian Koch led the Phoenix with 15 points, while Ryley Beaumont and Jack Isenbarger added 12 and 11 points, respectively. The win improved the Phoenix's already new Division I record total of wins (21). SoCon Coach of the Year Matt Matheny had to be pleased with his team's performance at the foul line, where it outscored the Spartans by nine points (18-9).
Charleston is just a middle of the road team offensively with an average of 65.1 ppg, however it is very adept on the other end of the floor where it allows only 61.1 ppg. Lawrence, who played for Great Britain's senior national team in the most recent Summer Olympics, paces the squad with 13.1 points, 3.9 assists and 1.4 steals per tilt. Anthony Stitt is a solid second option at 10.9 ppg while Baru provides 9.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per outing. Trent Wiedeman and Anthony Thomas are solid role players for Charleston, which has not lost to a SoCon rival other than Davidson since Jan. 17.
Elon has a pair of All-Conference honorees in Troutman and Isenbarger. Troutman provides a team-best 15.1 ppg on 55 percent shooting from the field to go along with 5.4 boards per tilt. He is also the program's all-time leading shot blocker with 152 in his career. Isenbarger chimes in with 13.6 points and 2.7 assists per outing. The Phoenix own the second-best average scoring margin in the SoCon at +4.9 ppg and limit their opposition to just 41 percent shooting from the field.
This should be a very closely contested bout just like the early December meeting. Although Troutman is a very skilled player with serviceable role players surrounding him, the Phoenix will have trouble keeping Lawrence out of the title game.
Game Date and Time