Elon MBB Stifles Charleston in 63-58 Win inside Sold-Out Alumni Gym

Posted by Press Release on January 14, 2018 at 11:19 am under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. – Steven Santa Ana scored a season-high 23 points, which included making 6-of-8 three-pointers, and Elon University men’s basketball’s stifling defense and all-round team effort led the Phoenix to a 63-58 victory over CAA preseason favorite College of Charleston on Saturday night, Jan. 13, in front of a sold-out Alumni Gym.


Elon (12-7, 4-2 CAA) stood firm in the final minutes of the contest after Charleston (12-6, 3-3 CAA) was able to battle back from a 12-point deficit, 51-39, with 9:26 remaining. After a 12-2 run by the Cougars cut Elon’s lead to 53-51 with 5:59 on the clock, the Phoenix only allowed College of Charleston to 1-of-7 shooting from the floor over the final five minutes.

With 9.3 seconds left in regulation, Dmitri Thompson hit a pair of free throws to give the Phoenix a 61-58 advantage. Joe Chealey got a look from three at the top of the key following a called timeout. After the missed attempt, Santa Ana was fouled after the defensive rebound and secured the win with two free throws.

Santa Ana led the Elon offense with 23 points, which included 6-of-8 shooting from three-point range, and also chipped in six rebounds. Thompson recorded his second double-double of the season, scoring 13 points and grabbing a career-high 11 rebounds. Tyler Seibring added 17 points and eight rebounds, while Brian Dawkins rounded out the scoring with 10 points for the Phoenix.

College of Charleston was led by Jarrell Brantley, who finished with a team-high 16 points and seven rebounds. Joe Chealey and Grant Riller chipped in 14 points apiece and Nick Harris grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds.

“This is a great bounce-back win,” said head coach Matt Matheny. “I thought both teams defended very well, we had some big plays down the stretch, and it feels good to have a close victory after a tough start to the weekend.”

The Phoenix, who came into the game ranked second in the league in field goal percentage defense, limited the Cougars to just 36.8 percent shooting from the floor, which included just 32 percent in the second half. Elon also outscored Charleston 11-6 on turnovers. Offensively, the maroon and gold only committed eight turnovers in 40 minutes, including just one in the second half.

Elon opened the contest with a 7-0 run over the first three minutes, which was capped off by Seibring’s fast break layup at the 16:51 mark, but Charleston quickly came back to take a 17-12 advantage with 10:50 on the clock.

The Cougars would not trail again for the rest of the half and took a 31-26 lead at the break. Elon committed seven of its eight turnovers in the first 20 minutes, but limited Charleston to just 40.6 percent shooting and a 27.3 percent clip from three.

After College of Charleston came out of the gate with a 4-0 run to start the second half, Elon responded with a 10-0 run over the next 2:30 to take a 36-35 lead following Seibring’s layup. The Cougars would take the lead one final time in the contest after Cameron Johnson’s layup put Charleston on top 37-36 with 15:58 on the clock.

Elon’s 12-2 run over the next 4:50 would give the Phoenix it’s largest lead of the game, 51-39, after Dawkins drove to the bucket and was fouled on a layup with 9:26 remaining.

The Cougars answered with a quick 12-2 run led by two three-pointers from Chealey, but a Thompson free throw and Seibring’s three gave the Phoenix a 57-51 cushion with 2:29 to play.

Two Brantley free throws was quickly answered with a thunderous dunk from Thompson to give Elon a 59-53 lead with 1:05 on the clock, but Riller’s three-point play and Chealey’s two free thows narrowed Elon’s advantage to 59-58 as 12 seconds remained.

Thompson and Santa Ana came in the clutch as they each made two free throws and Chealey’s three-pointer missed with less than 5 seconds to go and the Phoenix held on for the 65-58 victory.

– Santa Ana recorded season-highs of 23 points and six three-pointers against the Cougars. It was also his second 20+ point effort of the season and the fifth time he has scored in double figures in CAA contests.
– Thompson posted his third-career double-double and second of the season with 13 points and a career-high 11 rebounds.
– Elon improves to 7-0 this season coming off a loss.
– The maroon and gold earned its first win over College of Charleston since a 65-64 victory on Jan. 16, 2016 in TD Arena. The Phoenix earned its first win against the Cougars inside Alumni Gym since a 99-98 double overtime win on Feb. 2, 2012.
– The Phoenix improves to 7-1 at home in its final season inside of historic Alumni Gym.
– Elon is 4-2 at the start of league play for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
– The maroon and gold only committed eight turnovers in the contest, the least in a game this season. Elon only had one turnover in the second half.

The Phoenix hits the road on Thursday, Jan. 18, to face the James Madison Dukes at 7 p.m.

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