The Wildcats and Phoenix are currently the top two teams in the league, and could have clinched
those spots by Saturday night's game if both teams win Thursday and Western Carolina beats Chattanooga that night. However, these two teams have budding rivalry going. The Phoenix are the only team to beat Davidson in SoCon play. That came in a furious comeback in Davidson, which they concluded by winning in overtime.
Now, Davidson will be looking for revenge against the Phoenix in their building. Each of these schools is leaving the SoCon next year, so this may be their final meeting for a while. Or it could be their first of two meetings in ten days time, as they could easily meet again in the SoCon Tournament. If both teams have clinched their spots in the tournament, it will be interesting to see what these teams do in terms of gameplan and rotation of players against each other.
The Wildcats obviously rely heavily on Brooks. Brooks is averaging 18.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest. He is shooting 58.3% from the floor. He also is coming up with .8 blocks per game. Brooks really leads the Wildcats when he avoids foul trouble. He's come up with four fouls four times in SoCon play and fouled out of one game- against Elon, the lone SoCon loss.
Brian Sullivan has been playing very well lately for the Wildcats. He is second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.9 points per game and 2.2 assists. He has knocked down 74 threes so far this for 37.6% from long range. Tyler Kalinoski and Tom Droney have been the two biggest surprises on the team. Kalinoski averages 3.4 assists and Droney 3.3 assists, while each averages 11.1 points per game. Jake Belford is an important player down low for Davidson, as well. When Brooks was in foul trouble in the first half against Wofford and Belford was injured for a moment, Wofford started their big run of the game.
Ryley Beaumont is the other big for the Phoenix. He is averaging 10.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Beaumont has been critical during much of this eight game win streak. Sebastian Koch and Tanner Samson are the two best three point shooters. Koch is shooting 44.4% from long range, while Samson is shooting 42.8% from beyond the arc. Jack Isenbarger is the lone remaining starter, and he has been struggling for much of the year. He is averaging 9.5 points per game.
The Phoenix are the best defensive team in the SoCon in eFG%. Opponents have an eFG of 46.1%. They are the second best shooting team in the league, behind the Wildcats. They give up too many rebounds and do not force many turnovers. Elon is a very good team.
Elon is hungry to prove at home that the first game was no fluke. Then again, Davidson is hoping to avenge their only loss. If everything is already arranged in the seedings, it is a little difficult to know what team will be playing hard and for what purpose. That being said, I'll still hold onto Davidson being the one that wants the win more. Brooks is a great player and the Wildcats show up and come up with a narrow win. Wildcats 77, Phoenix 74.