Davidson Pulls Away Late to Top Elon Men’s Basketball

Posted by Press Release on February 28, 2013 at 6:55 am under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. – In a battle of the Southern Conference’s top two teams, the Elon University men’s basketball team fell just short, dropping a 69-63 decision to the Davidson Wildcats on Wednesday night, Feb. 27, in front of a record crowd in Alumni Gym.

Elon, who clinched the Southern Conference North Division title last week, drops to 19-10 (12-5 Southern Conference) with the setback. Davidson, the league’s South Division champion, improves to 22-7 (16-1 Southern Conference) with its 13th straight victory (fifth longest in the nation).

“Tonight was a very exciting game and our crowd was sensational,” said Elon head coach Matt Matheny. “All that being said, we still need to improve. One of our goals is to be at our best in March. We have one more practice before March gets here, and that will be our total focus. We’ll get better from this experience.”

After Elon made it a one-point game with 2:23 remaining after a pair of Tanner Samson free throws, which came via a Davidson flagrant foul, the Wildcats went on a 7-0 run to take a 64-57 lead with under a minute left. During the stretch, Davidson knocked down 6-of-6 from the free throw line.

Elon managed to pull within two points following a Jack Isenbarger triple with 17.9 seconds left, but the Wildcats kept chipping away at the free throw line with the Phoenix in a must-foul situation down the stretch and the shot clock off. In all, Davidson knocked down 19-of-28 at the charity stripe.

Tonight marks the first time this season Elon has dropped back-to-back league games. The 1,832 in attendance marks a new Alumni Gym record, besting previous mark of 1,804 set nearly a year ago to the day against UNC Greensboro on Feb. 25, 2012.

Isenbarger led the Phoenix with 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including a 3-of-6 clip from beyond the arc.

Samson and Lucas Troutman both finished the game with 11 points, respectively. Troutman has scored in double figures a team-best 24 times this season, as the Belton, S.C., native also tallied four blocks against Davidson.

Both squads shot 42 percent from the field in the game and both shot a total of 23 three-pointers. Elon knocked down 9-of-23 from beyond the arc, while Davidson hit 8-of-23.

After trailing by as many as nine in the opening frame, Samson gave the Phoenix a one-point lead with less than three minutes to play after a triple from the corner made it a 28-27 game.

That momentum carried into the locker room at intermission, as Elon led, 34-31. After struggling early on from the field, the Phoenix ended the half on a high note to shoot 42 percent in the first period.

Davidson’s Tom Droney pushed the ‘Cats out to a three-point lead with 3:55 remaining in the second half and forced a Phoenix timeout after a jumper from the corner made it a 57-54 game.

A flagrant foul on Davidson’s JP Kuhlman with 2:23 left gave the Phoenix two shots at the free throw line and the ball. Samson sunk both attempts to pull Elon within one, 58-57. The Phoenix could not cash in on the free possession, however, as a Ryley Beaumont left-handed hook just rimmed out to give the Wildcats the ball.

Davidson held off the Phoenix with key free throws down the stretch from that point forward, going on a 7-0 run. Davidson entered tonight’s game as the nation’s top free-throw shooting team at 81.1 percent.

Davidson’s Chris Czerapowicz led all players with 20 points, while Jake Cohen and De’Mon Brooks finished with 12 and 10, respectively.

Elon closes out the regular season at home on Saturday, March 2, at 7 p.m. against local rival UNC Greensboro. The Phoenix will honor seniors Josh Bonney, Roger Dugas, John Moody and Aaron Smith prior to tip, as they play their final home game inside Alumni Gym.

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