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Minutemen meet Phoenix in non-league tussle

<p>The No. 16-ranked Massachusetts Minutemen will try to extend a five-game winning streak when they travel to North Carolina to face the Elon Phoenix in non-conference action at Alumni Gym.</p>

Elon, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - The No. 16-ranked Massachusetts Minutemen will try to extend a five-game winning streak when they travel to North Carolina to face the Elon Phoenix in non-conference action at Alumni Gym.

UMass has only dropped a 60-55 decision to Florida State this season, which was back on Dec. 21. The Minutemen take this brief non-conference break to face Elon for the third consecutive season before getting back to Atlantic 10 action. UMass is coming off a tight 88-87 victory over George Mason.

Elon, a Southern Conference member, narrowly lost to the Minutemen last season in overtime, 78-73. The Phoenix have won three straight contests, including an 87-85 thriller in overtime against Davidson Thursday.

UMass takes a 2-0 all-time series lead into the matchup Saturday. The two teams had never met before their agreement on a yearly matchup. It's the third consecutive season UMass and Elon will clash.

UMass trailed George Mason until Derrick Gordon hit a layup with 8.1 seconds left to play that ended up being the deciding factor. UMass won the game against the Atlantic 10 program, 88-87. Chaz Williams led the Minutemen with 26 points and eight assists, but turned the ball over five times in the victory. He also recorded five steals. Cady Lalanne netted 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Raphiael Putney chipped in 12 points. Gordon finished the game with 10 points, with the most important basket of all.

Williams is the Minutemen's leading scorer this season with 16.1 ppg on 42.2 percent shooting from the floor. The guard boosts to his scoring numbers with an impressive 43.7 percent shooting touch from 3-point range, and has a team- high 121 assists on the year. Lalanne is second on the UMass roster with a 13.7 ppg average and a team-best 9 rpg mark. The Minutemen are scoring 78.9 ppg on 45.5 percent shooting, and holding opponents to 70.6 ppg.

Elon's 87-85 overtime victory over Davidson marked a first for the Phoenix in program history. It was the first time Elon's men's basketball team has ever won at Belk Arena. It was also Davidson's first SoCon loss on the season. Lucas Troutman netted a team-high 28 points on 11-of-21 shooting from the floor, adding 12 rebounds for the double-double. Ryley Beaumont and Jack Isenbarger each contributed 15 points, while Sebastian Koch scored 13.

Troutman tops the Phoenix this season in scoring, averaging 16 ppg on 54.4 percent shooting from the field. Troutman also tops the team in rebounding, at 6.5 rpg, and in blocked shots, swatting 32 this season. Koch is second on the team with 13 ppg, and Beaumont comes in at third with 10.6 ppg. The Phoenix average 78 ppg this season, and hold opponents to 73.8 ppg.

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