Elon’s run of improving each and every year under Matt Matheny finally came to an end last year. It was surprising given that they returned their roster almost entirely intact. The year was a disaster as Elon lost their last six conference games and was knocked out by Delaware in the play in round.
This year they return little. That little became less when starting pg Dainan Swoope was lost before the season started. Prospects looked bleak. Out of conference play results confirmed a troubling season was coming.
Elon’s best game far and away was a close loss to Southern Conference monster UNC Greensboro. There were no good wins. Conference did not begin much better. Elon led by 9 in the second half before Towson shot 64% in the frame to win 67-50. Elon’s struggle of guarding the 3 point shot continues as Towson hit 59% from deep for the game.
Matheny started Kris Wooten vs James Madison. The result was a much improved defensive effort. Matheny is a Bob McKillop disciple so he has always run beautiful offense, but his lack of athletes does not allow his teams to apply much defensive pressure. As noted, teams have rained threes on Elon. However, something changed in game the second conference game.
Elon ran out to a 17 point lead and held on to a 68-65 win over James Madison. JMU only shot 37% overall and 23% from deep in the second half. Whether it was the lineup change or JMU’s incompetence, Elon, who also got a bit healthier, finally played a good game.
Drexel was impressive despite losing twice, hanging with conference favorite Northeastern and then on short rest getting blitzed by red hot Hofstra, but still having the fight to get the game down to 6 before Hofstra again pulled away for the 14 point win.
These two teams split last year, with Drexel using a late 10-0 run to pull out the win at the DAC. This year Drexel has the edge in talent. However, if Matheny has finally found an answer to his ongoing defensive woes, this game could go to the wire. Overall, this looks like a potential easy win for Drexel, but I respect Matheny and believe the last game more than the rest. Still, his teams lack of talent and experience will make all games a struggle.
Drexel 72 Elon 66