ELON, N.C. – Dainan Swoope provided much-needed firepower down the stretch to lift the Elon University men’s basketball team to a 71-62 victory over William & Mary on Saturday night, Jan. 21, at Alumni Gym.
Swoope, who poured in a game-high 20 points, sparked the maroon and gold down the stretch with 10 points over the final two and a half minutes to pull Elon (12-9, 4-4 CAA) away from William & Mary.
Elon has now won four straight games at home, four of its last five overall, and evens the season series with the Tribe (9-9, 3-4 CAA).
“I thought we defended with conviction tonight, particularly in the second half, and that was the key to victory,” said Elon head coach Matt Matheny. “William & Mary runs a complex offense and they do it very well. We wanted to make them earn everything and I thought we did a good job of that for the better part of 40 minutes. For us to start the second half the way we did tonight was key and I’m pleased to come away with the victory.”
Tyler Seibring continued his hot streak, as the sophomore finished with 19 points and six boards in 34 minutes. Seibring averaged 20.3 points and 6.0 boards this past week, shooting 52.5 percent from the floor.
The Tribe forced a Phoenix timeout with 12:10 remaining in the opening session when a Connor Burchfield basket capped a 12-0 run to put W&M ahead, 17-10.
William & Mary took an 11-point advantage with under two minutes to play when Tyler Malinoski connected on a corner three in front of the Phoenix bench to give the Tribe a 30-19 lead.
Elon went into the half trailing, 30-22, after shooting just 23 percent from the floor in the opening frame on 7-of-31 shooting. Four of Elon’s field goals came from beyond the arc, as Seibring led the Phoenix with eight first-half points with two triples.
Elon surged out of the gates in the second half, going on a 13-4 run in the first three minutes to take a 35-34 lead after Swoope sunk two free throws. But the Tribe answered quickly with a 6-0 run over the next 40 seconds to reclaim the lead, 40-35.
But minutes later, the Phoenix would jockey in front again, as an 8-0 run capped off with a Christian Hairston layup gave Elon a 43-40 lead and forced a W&M timeout.
Daniel Dixon tied the game with 2:52 remaining when he drove to the basket for a layup and foul, making the free throw to knot it at 58-all. But the Phoenix responded on the ensuing possession when Swoope completed an old-fashioned three-point play to give Elon a 61-58 edge with 2:27 to play.
Elon held on to the lead down the stretch behind clutch shots from Swoope and key defensive plays from the likes of Dmitri Thompson to hold on to the win.
Elon treks Boston for its next game, a Jan. 26 contest at Northeastern, its first matchup with the Huskies. Two days later, the Phoenix travels to Hempstead, N.Y., looking for a season sweep of the Hofstra Pride.
– Tyler Seibring has score 17+ points in four straight games. He is averaging 20.3 points per game during that stretch. He has also recorded 15 assists and grabbed 17 rebounds.
– This is Elon’s first four-game home winning streak in conference play since Feb. 2014.
– Swoope scored 20 points tonight, the second time he has scored 20+ in a game this season. The first was on Nov. 23 when he scored a career-high 26 against UIC.
Elon Head Coach Matt Matheny’s opening statement…
“For our guys to go through what was a jagged, rough first half and to come out and start the second half the way that they did, and then to defend for 40 minutes against what I think is a very good offensive team, makes me as a coach proud of how hard they’re working and how well we played tonight. We’re happy to get this victory.”