TOWSON, Md. – Elon University men’s basketball climbed out to as much as a 21-point lead, put together a strong defensive performance in the first half, and made some big stops down the stretch to hold off Towson 83-76 on Saturday, Jan. 27, inside SECU Arena.
Elon (13-10, 5-5 CAA) put together a stifling defensive performance in the first half, which included holding the Tigers to 23.3 percent (7-30) from the floor in the opening clip to take a 41-22 lead at the break. The Phoenix also shot a blistering 46.2 percent from three-point range, including 58.8 percent in the first half. Despite Towson’s efforts at a comeback, Elon was able to make some big stops late and hold off the Tigers for the win.
“This was a great Elon victory,” said head coach Matt Matheny. “We really defended well in the first half and grinded out the victory in the second half. I couldn’t be happier about the support we got from our rotation guys and this was just a great overall team victory.”
The Phoenix was led by the performances of Brian Dawkins and Dmitri Thompson as they both scored a team-best 20 points apiece. Tyler Seibring flirted with a double-double, chipping in 17 points and a team-high eight rebounds, while Dainan Swoope added 11 points for Elon.
The Phoenix got some key contributions from others during the contest. Seth Fuller came off the bench to score six points and dish out four assists, while Sheldon Eberhardt added three points. Steven Santa Ana finished with six points, four rebounds and three assists.
Towson (15-8, 5-5 CAA) was paced by the performance of Zane Martin, who scored a game-high 32 points, grabbed five rebounds, and finished 5-of-9 from three. Mike Morsell added 16 points and five rebounds for the Tigers. Justin Gorham finished with a team-high eight rebounds.
The Phoenix got off to a hot start after giving up the first basket of the game, which was a three-pointer to Morsell. Elon answered with an 11-0 run, capped off by Dawkins’ triple. After Towson narrowed Elon’s lead to 14-8 with 13:27 on the clock, the Phoenix used another run of 15-5 to extend its lead to 29-13 following a Thompson’s jumper at the 6:13 mark.
Towson used a quick 5-0 run to slice Elon’s lead to 11, but the Phoenix closed out the final four minutes of the half with a 12-4 run to take a 41-22 lead at halftime. Elon held the Tigers to just seven field goals in the first half to limit Towson to just 23.3 percent shooting from the floor.
Dawkins opened the second half with a layup to give Elon its largest lead of the contest 43-22 with 19:42 remaining in the contest. The Phoenix continued to maintain as much as a 19-point lead up until the 13:01 mark when Swoope hit two free throws to give Elon a 58-39 lead. Towson then began cutting into Elon’s large lead, starting with a 12-4 run over a 3:55 span, capped off by Martin’s layup at the 8:13 mark to slice the maroon and gold’s lead to 62-51.
Elon kept a hold of a double-digit lead up until the 3:42 mark after two Seibring free throws gave the Phoenix a 73-61 advantage. However, an 11-4 run by the Tigers over the next 2:41 cut Elon’s lead to 77-72 after Martin split a pair of free throws and got an offensive rebound on his miss to score three points with 47 seconds remaining.
Despite not scoring a basket over the final 2:36 of the contest, the Phoenix got some big stops and Swoope made six free throws down the stretch to help the Elon earn the 83-76 win.
– The Phoenix snaps a three-game skid overall and wins for the first time at SECU Arena after the victory. Towson was 3-0 against the Phoenix at home before Saturday’s game.
– With Brian Dawkins and Dmitri Thompson each scoring 20 points, its the first time two Phoenix scored 20+ points in the same game since Elon’s 71-65 double overtime win over Saint Peter’s on Dec. 2, 2017.
– Tyler Seibring extends his double-digit scoring streak to 11 games after tallying 17 against the Tigers.
– Elon earns its first regular-season sweep of Towson. The Tigers, who lead the all-time series 5-4, fell to the Phoenix 75-72 earlier this season on Jan. 2, 2018.
– The Phoenix limited the Tigers to just seven field goals in the first half and a stat line of 7-of-30 from the floor, just 23.3 percent shooting.
– Dainan Swoope continues to inch closer to the 1,000-career point mark. He now has 964 points, just 36 points away.
– Tyler Seibring is now 31st on Elon’s all-time scoring list with 1,102 points, just 26 points behind Sebastian Koch ’14.
– Dmitri Thompson moves up to 34th on Elon’s all-time scoring list with 1,071 career points, just 13 behind Chris Matthews ’77.
The Phoenix closes a three-game road swing on Thursday night, Feb. 1, with a road trip to William & Mary. Tip-off inside Kaplan Arena will be at 7 p.m.