GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball team returns to action Thursday evening as the Spartans travel down I-40 to face Triad rival Elon. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at the Alumni Gym and will be broadcast on 1320 WCOG AM with Scott Pryzwansky and Darryl Kosciak providing the call. Additionally, the game will be audio streamed online for free at www.uncgspartans.com. A video stream is available via Elon but a charge of $8.95 is required to view.
UNCG enters Thursday’s game with an 11-13 overall record and a 4-5 mark in Southern Conference play. The Spartans have dropped four out of their last five games after opening league play with a 3-1 record. UNCG is coming off a hard-fought 64-62 loss at home to Georgia Southern last weekend. In that game, the Spartans were led by sophomore guard Jordan Potts (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) for the second straight game, scoring 13 points off the bench.
Junior forward Kyle Cain (Chicago, Ill./Arizona State) leads the Spartans in scoring at 15.7 points per game and has scored in double figures in 22-of-24 games this year. He is shooting 48.9 percent (154-of-315) from the field, including 50.7 percent (146-of-288) on two-point shots. He also leads the team and ranks second in the SoCon on the glass, grabbing 9.1 rebounds per game.
Freshman guard Tevon Saddler (Aberdeen, Md./St. Frances Academy) is second on the team in scoring at 12.6 points per game. Saddler also leads the team with 72 assists, 31 steals and 169 free throw attempts. Sophomore forward Kayel Locke (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) rounds out the Spartans averaging double figures at 11.9 points per game while also grabbing 4.3 rebounds. Junior Nicholas Paulos (Salt Lake City, Utah/New Hampton School) leads the team with 62 three-pointers and is averaging 9.7 points per game.
Elon enters Thursday’s game with 12-11 overall record and a 5-3 mark in SoCon play. The Phoenix has won back-to-back games with wins over Western Carolina and Appalachian State. Elon is 8-2 this season at home with its lone two losses coming out of conference against Metro State and Massachusetts. The Phoenix has hit a league-leading 199 three-pointers this season, connecting at a 39.7 percent clip.
Senior forward Lucas Troutman leads the team in scoring at 15.7 points per game and on the glass at 6.1 rebounds per game. Troutman is shooting 53.4 percent (135-of-253) from the field and 73 percent (92-of-126) from the free throw line. Sebastian Koch is second on the team in scoring at 13.0 points per game and has hit a team-leading 65 three-pointers as three different players have hit at least 30 three-pointers this season.
Tanner Samson is third on the team in scoring at 10.4 points per game and has hit 63 three-pointers this year, at a 45 percent clip. Ryley Beaumont rounds out the Phoenix averaging double figures at 10.1 points per game and grabbing 5.1 rebounds per game.
Thursday’s game marks the 36th meeting all-time between UNCG and Elon. The Spartans trail the all-time series by a 13-22 margin and have dropped eight straight in the series. UNCG last won against Elon Jan. 28, 2010 with a 63-55 victory in Greensboro and the Spartans’ last win at Elon came Jan. 17, 2009 (89-72). The Spartans are 4-11 all-time on the road against the Phoenix.
The Spartans lost three games to the Phoenix last year, dropping back regular season games and a game in the SoCon Tournament. The Spartans dropped the first game of the series 72-66 in the Greensboro Coliseum, fell 80-66 at Alumni Gym and 68-61 in the league tournament in Asheville.
The Spartans connected on just 35.4 percent (70-of-198) from the field against Elon last year and 32.7 percent (18-of-55) from long range. Elon conversely, connected on 48.3 percent (69-of-143) from the field and 40.4 percent (21-o-52) from long range against the Spartans. Former Spartan Trevis Simpson led the way averaging 16.0 points while Locke chipped in 11.0 points per game. Troutman led the Phoenix, averaging 19.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game against UNCG.
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