Previewing Elon

Previewing the Blue Devils and Phoenix who will tip off on Monday night in Durham. The game will be broadcast nationally beginning at 7:00 PM on Fox Sports.

After a long break for exams the Blue Devils return to action against the Elon Phoenix in a game where head coach Mike Krzyzewski can pull even with long time rival Dean Smith on the all time wins list.

Elon (4-6) vs. Duke (10-0)
Durham, N.C. -- Cameron Indoor Stadium
TV: Fox Sports 7:00 PM EST (Mike Hogewood & Mike Gminski)


MEET THE PHOENIX

Head Coach: Matt Matheny (2nd Year)
Record at Elon: 13-29
Record v. Duke: 0-0

Projected Starters:
? 1 Drew Spradlin (6-5, 195 Jr.) – 12.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg
2 Terrance Birdette (6-2, 180, Jr.) – 6.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg
13 Chris Long (6-2, 180, Sr.) – 12.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg
5 Roger Dugas (6-8, 205, Jr.) – 8.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg
33 Scott Grable (6-9, 245, Fr.) – 3.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg

Top Reserves:
20 Jack Isenbarger (6-2, 175, Fr.) – 14.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg
31 Lucas Troutman (6-10, 205, Fr.) – 5.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg
44 Brett Ervin (6-7, 240, So.) - 3.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg
21 Ryley Beaumont (6-7, 195, Fr.) - 4.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg


Series History: This will be the 19th meeting between the two programs, but the first since the 1936-1937 season where Duke won 50-25. Entering Monday night's game the Blue Devils have won the series' last five encounters.

Against teams currently in the Southern Conference, the Blue Devils have an all-time record of 140-24 and have won 45 consecutive games against teams from that league. Under head coach Mike Krzyzewski the Devils have an overall record of 45-2 against SOCON foes..

Elon Roster: Click Here
Elon Statistics: Click Here
Elon Schedule: Click Here


PRE-GAME NOTES:

"We want Elon basketball to play on a national stage. With what Duke (has done leading to this game), there's no greater stage. We'll be challenged in every way, shape and form."" - Elon Coach Matt Matheny

"I know we're all looking forward to it. It's going to be an experience in itself." - Elon freshman guard Jack Isenbarger

Season To Date: Through the season's first ten games the Phoenix have stumbled to a 4-6 mark with, perhaps, the signature victory coming against Gardner-Webb on December 7th. Elon did make a game of it for a while against South Carolina in a preseason tournament, but ended up falling 94-79 to the Gamecocks. Then, against Maryland, the Phoenix fell 76-57.

The last time out the Phoenix offense was contained and held well below its season average of 77.2 points per game in a 77-62 loss to Chattanooga. Much of the reason for the setback can found on the glass where the Phoenix were out-rebounded by a 48-31 margin. Additionally Chattanooga put three players into double-figures while only freshman Jack Isenbarger scored 10 or more for the Phoenix.

Young Gun: Speaking of Isenbarger, his 22 points against Chattanooga marked the fourth time this season he's eclipsed the 20 point plateau. The first came in his season debut against South Carolina where he dropped 22 points in 24 minutes on 7-of-11 shooting. For an encore? He added 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting against the College of New Jersey. For the season the 6-2 freshman leads the team in scoring at 14.9 points per game and has reached double figures in all but three contests. When he's not scoring? He's handing out 3.8 assists per game.

For the season Isenbarger is shooting 45 percent from the field and 46 percent from the perimeter while converting 86 percent at the line in his role of 6th man. A native of Zionsville (Ind.), Isenbarger was a McDonalds All-American nominee a season ago and was a five sport athlete in high school, playing football, baseball, soccer, volleyball, and basketball. Basketball runs in his bloodline as he's the son of former Indiana University basketball standout Phil Isenbarger.

The Old Guard: Though his freshman counterpart has burst onto the scene in a big way, opposing coaches still must gameplan for junior Drew Spradlin. Selected as a pre-season All-Conference member by the SOCON coaches, Spradlin is the team's designated sharp shooter having connected on 103 attempts during his two plus years at Elon, good enough for 10th in the program's history. Much like his younger teammates, Spradlin has been steady in the scoring column this year - posting double figures in all but three contests including a season high 23 points against Gardner-Webb. Against USC and Maryland, however, the 6'5 junior managed just 12 points. Total. While shooting 4-of-21 from the field. He's also one of the team's best rebounders at 4.3 per game and has grabbed 10 boards twice this season.

The Glass Is Dirty At Times: The Phoenix does have quite a bit of size on the roster with eight players standing 6-7 or taller. However, not all that size is ready for prime time and it's shown as much especially when it comes to rebounding. The common thread in every result so far for Elon has been the ability to pick the winner - not by looking at the final score, but at the final rebounding totals. In the four wins this season the Phoenix rebounded well, out-boarding each opponent by an average of +9.8. In the six losses? The Phoenix lost the battle of the boards each time by an average of -13.5 rebounds.

Long On Experience: Senior captain Chris Long is the engine of the Elon machine. The 6'2 point guard ranks third on the school's all-time list with 380 assists, which is also second on the Southern Conference's active career leader list. A season ago he helped the team on 134 baskets (4.2 apt) which was the 10th best season performance in program history. As with the other two Elon leaders, Long has hit double figures in seven of the 10 contests and scored seven or more in nine of 10. For the season he's averaging 12.9 points while handing 4.0 assists per game and sports a 1.6/1.0 assist to turnover ration.

Toetal Focus: Duke will once again be without freshman point guard Kyrie Irving who is out indefinitely with an injured toe. With his foot placed in a hard cast, it's unlikely the ACC's best freshman will see action for several more weeks. In the meantime, sophomore Andre Dawkins is expected to make his third consecutive start.

Duke Noteables: The Blue Devils will be looking to move to 11-0 on the season against Elon, but there are some additional notes worth following:

  • Mike Krzyzewski is one win shy of catching Dean Smith for second place on the all-time coaching wins list. Coach K enters Saturday's game with 878career wins.
  • The Blue Devils have won 20 consecutive games dating back to a 79-72 loss at Maryland on March 3, 2010. Duke has won 28 of its last 29 games overall.
  • The Blue Devils have won an NCAA-best 83 consecutive non-conference home games. The last home loss against a non-conference opponent for the Blue Devils was on Feb. 26, 2000 against St. John's, 83-82. Duke has won 46 straight home games against unranked opponents. The Blue Devils' last loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium to an unranked opponent was to Florida State on Feb. 4, 2007.
  • Duke has now won 52 consecutive home games in the month of December with the last loss coming against Michigan on Dec. 8, 1996.
  • Duke has scored 80 or more points in eight straight games and in nine of the 10 games this season. They are 490-46 all-time under Coach K when scoring at least 80 points. With a strong second half performance against Bradley that saw the Blue Devils put up 51 points, Duke has now scored 50 or more in the second half in five of the nine games on the year.
  • Kyle Singler is attempting to join Shane Battier as the only player in Duke history to record 1900 points, 800 rebounds, 300 offensive rebounds, 200 three point field goals, 200 assists, 100 blocks, and 100 steals. Currently Singler has 1,930 points, 816 rebounds, 292 offensive rebounds, 225 three pointers, 244 assists, 99 blocks, and 149 steals. Battier finished with 1,984 points, 887 rebounds, 338 offensive rebounds, 246 three pointers, 239 assists, 254 blocks, and 266 steals


WHAT TO WATCH FOR

After beating up on St. Louis, the Blue Devils return to action to shake off some rust over the next two games before heading into ACC play without their leading scorer and, perhaps, best player. The previous two contests without Irving saw a contrast of results from the players asked to step up and carry the load. Nolan Smith scored two points in the game against Bradley, but 22 against St. Louis while averaging 7.5 assists in those two games. Meanwhile Andre Dawkins scored 28 against Bradley and just two against St. Louis. With so much down time between games - albeit during exam season - the Blue Devils will have had some time to get a number of reps in practice as they continue to change and modify the offensive attack without Irving. Simply put the Phoenix doesn't have enough on the glass nor offensive firepower to give Duke much of a scare. In the end the Blue Devils should coast to an easy win with Coach K pulling even with Dean Smith on the all-time wins list.

Prediction:
Duke - 97
Elon - 63


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