ELON, N.C. – A stifling defensive effort by the Elon University men’s basketball team lifted the Phoenix to a 71-49 victory over the Dartmouth Big Green on Tuesday night, Dec. 4, inside a raucous Alumni Gym.
Elon (6-3) held Dartmouth (2-4) to a season-low 27.9 percent shooting from the field in the win, including a 1-of-19 mark from three-point land. The Phoenix turned 12 turnovers by the Big Green into 13 points, while protecting the ball with just eight turnovers – the second lowest in a game this season by Elon.
“We played well defensively tonight against a gritty and tough Dartmouth team. We found out firsthand last year how tough and physical they can be and they contested us and made it difficult to get clean looks all night,” said Phoenix head coach Matt Matheny. “But overall, I’m encouraged by the way our guys are leading one another right now. Through our ups and downs, we’ve had a focus and a desire to improve this season and I’m excited by that. We battled and competed for all 40 minutes tonight and came out with a great win.”
Ryley Beaumont’s first double-double of the season (second career) paved the way for Elon tonight, as the Millersville, Md., native finished with 10 points and 12 boards in 29 minutes.
Jack Isenbarger and Lucas Troutman each poured in a game-high 15 points, while Austin Hamilton was the fourth Phoenix player in double figures with 10 points. Elon has had four players in double figures four times this season.
The Phoenix took an 11-point lead with 6:24 remaining in the first period after Egheosa Edomwonyi knocked down two from the charity stripe to make it a 23-12 game.
Seconds later, Isenbarger connected on his lone three of the game from the top of the key to give Elon a 14-point cushion, forcing a Big Green timeout.
Elon led 34-21 at the half after limiting Dartmouth to just 23 percent shooting in the first half on 7-of-30 shooting. Dartmouth’s 21 points in the first half are the lowest in the opening frame by an opponent all season.
The maroon and gold kept its foot on the gas to open the second period, beginning the first five-plus minutes on an 10-0 run to take a 44-21 lead, forcing another Big Green timeout with 14:25 to play.
The Phoenix held the Big Green without a field goal in the second half until the 14:12 mark when a Malik Gill jumper near the free throw line with made it a 44-23 game. Gill scored 11 points for Dartmouth.
In all, Elon limited Dartmouth to 32 percent shooting the second frame, including a 1-of-11 clip (9.1 percent) from beyond the arc.
A three-game road swing for the Phoenix begins in 11 days on Dec. 15 when the team heads to Springfield, Mass., to face UMass. The game is the 2012 Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase game in conjunction with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and will be played inside the MassMutual Center.