The Elon Phoenix notched a 63-58 win over the College of Charleston Cougars at Alumni Gym on Saturday night in CAA Hoops action. Elon improves to 4-2 in league play, while CofC drops to 3-3.
Elon outscored the Cougars by 10 points in the 2nd half and hit some big free throws down the stretch to clinch it. Elon’s Steven Santa Ana scored 23 points on 7-11 from the field and 6-8 from 3-point range. His 14 points in the first half help Elon keep their deficit in striking distance so they could make their run in the second half.
GIF that best summarized the game
WATCH: THOMPSON WITH THE SLAM DUNK!#ElevateElon #CAAHoops pic.twitter.com/fXekqvUxOg
— Elon Men's Hoops (@ElonMensHoops) January 14, 2018
Dmitri Thompson’s big dunk late in the second half helped seal the deal for a Phoenix win. Thompson finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds on the night. Tyler Seibring said he knew that the Cougars were looking to pressure the ball in this situation. He and Thompson made eye contact, Thompson cut backdoor, and Seibring fed him for the big dunk.
What people will be talking about
Elon exorcised some demons from last season in getting this win. Both teams return their starting lineups from last season, when Elon lost to CofC twice. When Elon Coach Matt Matheny was asked about what this win means after losing to this team twice last season, he said, “this shows that we’re making progress. If we look at this program as a climb to a mountaintop, you can look at this win as a stopping point with a nice view, but we certainly have a long way to go.”
What people should be talking about
Steven Santa Ana was perfect from the field in the first half, scoring 14 of Elon’s 26 points. The Phoenix got a bit more of a balanced effort from key contributors in the second half, as Tyler Seibring, Dmitri Thompson, and Brian Dawkins all found themselves in double figures by night’s end. Those four players accounted for all of Elon’s points on the night, as point guard Dainan Swoope was held scoreless, as well as the entirety of the Elon bench.
Santa Ana mentioned after the game that despite not putting numbers in the scoring column, several guys made key contributions that helped Elon win. He specifically mentioned a key offensive rebound from reserve forward Simon Wright that led to a Santa Ana 3-pointer, which gave Elon a 42-39 lead.
Stat of the Game
Two consecutive games at Alumni Gym where both teams’ starting point guards have struggled. Elon’s Dainan Swoope went scoreless, on 0-5 shooting from the field. He was 1-11 on Thursday night. Meanwhile, CofC 5th year senior guard Joe Chealey went 4-18 from the field. He missed what would have been a game-tying 3-pointer with less than five seconds remaining.
Elon improves to 4-2 in league play. They’re a game behind current conference leader William & Mary, who lost to Towson earlier this afternoon. Up next, Elon travels to Harrisonburg, VA on Thursday, where they’ll face a James Madison squad that is currently 0-6 in CAA play. A big game against William & Mary looms after that.
8 is Wild
Referees Tom Morrissey, Jon Wall, and Matt Dorn all sported the same haircut for tonight’s game (pictured below).
Tonight's refs for Elon/CofC went all 2004 NCAA Tournament Tar Heels. pic.twitter.com/AzWcYP7FmH
— Max Gongaware (@maxgongaware) January 14, 2018
They’re all sporting the “Mr. Clean” look and, from what I could tell, they all called a fairly clean game. Good stuff for a Saturday night, when it can sometimes be tough to get good officiating at CAA games.