Sabato, Eddy Power Elon Men’s Basketball To Victory On Opening Night

Posted by Press Release on November 15, 2014 at 6:31 am under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. – Opening Night in Alumni Gym lived up to the hype once again, as the Elon University men’s basketball team clawed its way to a 64-58 victory over the visiting Florida Atlantic Owls on Friday, Nov. 14.

With the win, Elon improves to 1-0 on the season and 34-11 over the last four years in games played in Alumni Gym. The win marks the first in the Colonial Athletic Association era for the Phoenix.

“We feel fortunate and happy to get the victory, I thought the crowd was sensational tonight and really made a difference,” said Elon head coach Matt Matheny. “For a young and inexperienced team to play as consistently focused as we did is a great tribute to the hard work they’ve put in. I was very pleased to see several guys that gave us quality minutes.”

Tony Sabato scored a career- and team-high 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field to give Elon momentum late and power the maroon and gold to victory. Luke Eddy, who started at point guard, pitched in 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting, while Tanner Samson and Elijah Bryant each ended the night with 10.

The Phoenix defense stifled the Owls down the stretch, limiting FAU to 4-of-12 shooting from the field in the game’s final 8:52, including a 0-for-7 clip over a five-minute span late in the second half.

Elon held the Owls to 38 percent shooting from the field. Last season, Elon finished the year 9-1 when it held the opposition below 40-percent shooting.

After trailing by as many as 10 points in the opening frame, the Phoenix cut the deficit to two with 4:34 remaining on a Samson triple to make it a 28-26 game.

But the Owls led at the break, 37-32, after limiting Elon to 2-of-7 shooting over the final 2:57 of the half. Both squads shot 46 percent in the first 20 minutes, but FAU’s 4-of-8 performance from beyond the arc proved to be the difference.

Early in the second half, Elon stormed back to make it a one-point game and force an Owls timeout with 16:21 left after a baseline jumper from Bryant made it a 41-40 game. Ryan Winters scored put Elon ahead, 42-41, minutes later after a great dish by Bryant, giving the Phoenix its first advantage since three minutes into the game.

Eddy gave Elon its largest lead of the night with 8:35 remaining after burying a three-ball from the wing to make it a 52-49 game, putting the Alumni Gym faithful on their feet.

The Elon defense buckled down from that point forward, holding on for the season opening win.

Elon returns to Alumni Gym on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 5:30 p.m. against Charlotte. The game will be broadcasted on the American Sports Network. Check your local listings for availability in your area.

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