Elon Men’s Basketball Clinches Division Crown With Win at Samford

Posted by Press Release on February 22, 2013 at 6:44 am under College | Comments are off for this article

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – It came down to the wire, but the Elon University men’s basketball team clinched the Southern Conference North Division title after escaping with a 63-62 win at Samford on Thursday night, Feb. 21, at the Pete Hanna Center.

Trailing by one with 26 seconds remaining and the clock winding down, Sebastian Koch hit a driving Ryley Beaumont on a backdoor cut toward the basket for a layup, giving Elon a 63-62 lead.

Following a timeout with 8.2 seconds left, Samford’s Raijon Kelly’s potential game-winning jumper from near the free throw line ricocheted off the rim as time expired, allowing the Phoenix to hold on to the victory.

Elon (19-8, 12-3 SoCon) clinches the North Division title with the win, its first since the 2005-06 season. The team’s 19 wins are the most since the 1989-90 season, while Elon’s 12 league wins are the most since the 1987-88 season.

“We’re very happy to come out of here with a victory tonight,” said Elon head coach Matt Matheny. “It was a hard-fought victory and our veterans guys really stepped up when we needed it. We ran our offense and got a really good back cut play for a huge bucket and came up with a big stop against a very talented player in [Raijon] Kelly.”

Beaumont, who was named the SoCon Player of the Week on Tuesday, ended the night with 14 points and a career-high 14 boards for his fourth double-double this season.

Jack Isenbarger scored a team-high 15 points in the win, while Tanner Samson finished the evening with 11 points.

Elon shot 52 percent from the field as a team, while hitting 9-of-21 (43 percent) from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs shot 49 percent from the field and hit 9-of-15 (60 percent) from three.

Beaumont put the Phoenix ahead by 10 points early in the first half after connecting on a jumper in the paint to give his squad a 13-3 advantage, forcing Samford to call a timeout with 13:29 to play.

Elon led by as many as 14 points in the first session, carrying a 38-30 edge into the locker room at intermission. The Phoenix shot 67 percent from the field in the opening frame, knocking down 5-of-10 from three-point land.

Samford pulled within three early in the second period and forced a Phoenix timeout with 16:07 to play after a Kelly triple made it a 41-38 game. The Bulldogs took the lead for the first time with 15:03 remaining after a Tim Williams layup put Elon behind, 43-41, and completed a 16-5 run.

But Elon regained the lead with 12:34 to play after a Samson trey from the wing put the maroon and gold ahead, 47-46.

The Phoenix led by as many as six with less than six minutes to play, until Kelly gave the Bulldogs a late lead, 60-59, with 3:21 to play on a jumper near the free throw line.

Beaumont and Kelly traded baskets down the stretch, but it was the junior from Millersville, Md., who scored the eventual game-winner in the waning moments, giving Elon its first-ever win at Samford in five tries.

The Phoenix returns to action on Saturday night, Feb. 23, at Chattanooga. Tip is slated for 7:30 p.m. at McKenzie Arena and the game will be aired live on ESPN3.

            1st  2nd  Total
   Elon     38   25    63
   Samford  30   32    62

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