Big Night in the Southern Conference: Elon Takes on Duke Today

USA TODAY Sports

The Southern Conference had a solid evening last night. What were some of the standout performances and what does the conference look like going into conference play?

We haven't really checked too much into the Southern Conference this season. A lot of teams have not lived up to their preseason billing and Elon and Davidson have struggled in particular. But last night gave a glimmer of hope for one of the nation's oldest conferences:

- Let's get the big individual performance out of the way. Western Carolina's Trey Sumler exploded for 40 points and 7 rebounds last night. Sure the game was against non-D1 Milligan, but it's still impressive. Sumler is now scoring 19.8 points per game, which is third in the SoCon. The Catamounts now find themselves at 7-8 going into conference play and tied for second place in the conference.

- The other big performance on the night was from Tim Williams who posted 31 points and 7 boards for the Samford Bulldogs in a win over Presbyterian. Samford moved to 6-9 and won the game 71-59, but the Bulldogs actually struggled early and were down to the Blue Hose at halftime.

- Wofford won their third straight game over a Big South opponent last night in a 81-53 win over High Point.  Karl Cochran lead the way with 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists for the Terriers. Wofford lost to the Panthers earlier this year 66-56, but dominated High Point who is now without Allan Chaney. The Panthers have now dropped seven straight games.

- First year head coach Will Wade and the Chattanooga Mocs took the Dr. Pepper Classic beating Grand Canyon and Maine on back to back nights. The Mocs are now 6-8 heading into SoCon play and Z Mason is one of the conferences premier scoring threats averaging 18.1 points per game.

- Speaking of first year head coaches, how about Neko Medved grabbing a win at UC-Davis last night? The Paladins now are 6-7 heading into conference play and have knocked off three teams from the SoCon's rival conference the Big South. Sophomore Stephen Croone is now second in the conference averaging 201.1 points per game.

- UNC Greensboro may be the most up and down team the SoCon has to offer. The Spartans nearly knocked off North Carolina State last night in a 68-64 loss to the Wolfpack. UNCG is 7-8 and has impressive wins over High Point (when they were good), JMU, and Virginia Tech. The low point of the season has to be the Spartans loss to Presbyterian. All in all, Wes Miller has done a great job this year and the Spartans are in good shape given their preseason prognosis.

- Mark Byington is also a first year head coach who has now lost to another first year head coach, Kevin McGeehan, twice. Georgia Southern fell to Campbell for the second time this year 69-63 in Buies Creek last night. The Eagles are surprisingly tied for second in the conference though with a 7-8 mark.

- Appalachian State has been one of those really disappointing teams this year. Is it recruiting karma for Jason Capel? The Mountaineers did grab their fourth win of the season last night over non-Division I Bluefield 97-70.

Today: Elon was my pick and a trendy pick at the beginning of the season. A four game losing streak that featured a loss to Division II Metro State was the low point for the Phoenix. The Phoenix do have a 7-6 mark, but will have their hands full today to stay above .500 as they play a neutral site game against Duke at 1 PM on ESPNU.

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