PHILADELPHIA – The Elon University men’s basketball team defeated the Drexel Dragons, 65-56, in its final road game of the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
The Phoenix (17-12, 9-7 CAA) used a 26-6 surge over the final 16 minutes of the first half to create separation and used strong defensive play to earn an important road victory in conference play.
Elon held the Dragons to just 34.9 percent shooting for the contest, including a 29.7 mark in the first half. The maroon and gold improves to 9-1 overall this season when holding its opponent to under 40 percent from the floor.
“I’m really proud of the way our players competed,” said head coach Matt Matheny. “I thought we were really competitively tough today. There were great highs in this game and there were mistakes in this game – just like any game – but I thought we really competed through the highs and lows and that’s what helped us get the win.”
Dainan Swoope led Elon with a team-high 21 and added a career-high eight rebounds. It was his fourth 20-plus-point game this season. Tyler Seibring and Brian Dawkins also finished in double figures with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Seibring also was 4-of-5 from behind the arc.
Drexel (9-20, 3-13 CAA) was paced by Mohamed Bah’s first-career double double as he recorded a team-high 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Kurk Lee added 16 points, seven rebounds and a game-high six assists. Sammy Mojica was the third Dragon in double figures with 15 points.
After the Phoenix jumped out to a 6-0 lead, Drexel roared back with a 12-0 run to take a 12-6 lead at the 13:38 mark. Elon then mounted a 26-6 surge over the next 16 minutes to take 32-18 lead at halftime.
Hot shooting from three-point range helped Elon’s late surge in the first half. The Phoenix finished with a 7-of-15 flurry in the first 20 minutes of action. All seven three pointers were made by Santa Ana, Seibring, and Swoope. Elon held the Dragons to 26.7 percent shooting in the first clip to assure a 14-point halftime lead.
Drexel brought Elon’s lead to 10 three times during the first 10 minutes of the second half. However, the Phoenix fended off the Dragons’ initial attempts to get back into the game. The maroon and gold got out to its largest lead of 16 points a total of three times in the second half, including a 60-44 lead with 2:54 remaining after two Swoope free throws.
The Dragons clawed their way back into the game, using a 12-3 run to cut Elon’s lead to seven, 63-56, with 21 seconds left. Swoope made two clutch free throws and Elon fended off multiple three-point attempts by Drexel to hold on for the nine-point victory.
The Phoenix returns to Alumni Gym for its final home games of the season. The week begins on Thursday, Feb. 23, with a at 7 p.m. contest against Northeastern. Elon then hosts Delaware in its season finale on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. for Senior Day.
– Dainan Swoope scored 20+ points for the fourth time this season with 21 against the Drexel Dragons. A total of five players have scored 20 or more points a combined total of 18 times this season.
– Brian Dawkins scored in double figures for a team-high 23rd time this season.
– The Phoenix improved to 9-1 overall this season when holding its opponent to under 40% shooting from the field.
– The win guarantees Elon its first winning season overall since 2013-14 and first as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association.
– With two treys against the Dragons, Steven Santa Ana now has 61-made three pointers this season. Six more made-threes will move him into the top-10 of Elon’s single-season record book.
– Luke Eddy finished with an assist against Drexel and now has 284 for his career. He is currently 11th in program history and needs six more to move past Steven Harvin ’05 into the top-10 of the program’s career-assists leaders.
– Elon is 12-4 this season in game when it’s leading at halftime.