ELON, N.C. – Steven Santa Ana poured in a season-high 31 points and Elon University men’s basketball drilled 17 three-pointers to defeat UNCW 84-77 on Thursday night, Feb. 21, inside Schar Center.
Santa Ana’s game-high 31 points led Elon (9-19, 5-10 CAA) as he finished 8-of-15 from the field, drained a team-high tying five threes and was nearly flawless from the free throw line, going 10-of-12 from the stripe. He also rounded out his strong performance with seven rebounds and a team-high five assists.
Additionally, Tyler Seibring recorded his second-straight double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds for Elon. Like Santa Ana, Sheldon Eberhardt also made a game-high five triples and recorded 18 points. Also, Kris Wootenchipped in nine points and three assists for the Phoenix.
UNCW (9-20, 5-11 CAA) was led by Jeantal Cylla’s 24 points and eight rebounds. Devontae Cacok added a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 18 rebounds, while Ty Gadsden chipped in 17 points for the Seahawks. Kai Toews finished with a game-high eight assists in addition to his seven points.
Offensively, the Phoenix put on a three-point clinic tallying 17 triples at a 44.7 percent clip. Elon shot 42.6 percent from the floor and assisted on 18 of 26 baskets. On the defensive end, the Phoenix held the Seahawks to just 40 percent shooting overall and just 4-of-11 from three-point range in the second half.
The Phoenix made 12 of its 15 field goals in the first half from three-point range, which helped get the maroon and gold to as much as a 17-point and take a 45-40 advantage into the halftime break.
Elon opened the contest with a 9-2 run and Santa Ana’s three at the 12:49 mark capped off a 23-6 start for the Phoenix in the opening 7:11, the team’s largest lead of the contest. UNCW would slice Elon’s advantage to 23-14, but Elon fought back to retake a double digit lead as a 7-0 run made the score 30-14 with 7:27 remaining in the half.
The Seahawks mounted a 18-6 surge to cut Elon’s lead 36-32 following Jaylen Sims’ three-pointer at the 3:35 mark. Santa Ana’s fourth triple of the night gave the Phoenix a 45-37 lead with 1:27 on the clock, but Toews answered with a three at the 30-second mark and Elon took a five-point lead into the half.
UNCW opened the first 4:08 of the second half with a 12-3 run to take its first lead and a 52-48 advantage. However, Elon battled back and Santa Ana’s four-point play with 14:06 remaining gave the Phoenix a 55-54 lead. Both teams would then trade buckets until the 10:14 mark when the game tied up at 62-62 following Cylla’s three-pointer.
Undaunted, Elon mounted a 12-2 run over the next six minutes, taking a 74-64 lead after Seibring’s free throw with 3:53 remaining. The Phoenix would create an 11-point cushion, 77-66, after Eberhardt’s fifth triple of the game at the 2:17 mark. UNCW attempted to make a comeback late as a 9-1 run until 42 seconds remained cut Elon’s lead to just three. Santa Ana answered the call at the free throw line in the final seconds as he went a perfect 6-of-6 at the stripe to help the Phoenix hold on for the 84-77 victory.
– Steven Santa Ana scored a game-high 31 points, finishing just one point shy of his career high 32 points, which he scored on Nov. 14, 2016 against Charlotte in Alumni Gym.
– Tyler Seibring tallied his second-straight double-double and his fifth this season with 13 points and 11 rebounds against UNCW. It was the 12th double-double of his career. It’s the first time Seibring has posted back-to-back double-doubles since Dec. 22 (Indiana State) and Dec. 30 (Drexel) during the 2017-18 season.
– With 31 points against UNCW, Santa Ana moves into 18th on the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,329 career points, trailing 17th-placed Thomas Moore ’76 by 52 points.
– Seibring made two three-pointers against the Seahawks and is two away from moving into sole place of 2nd all-time on the three-point charts.
– Elon earns the regular season sweep of UNCW with Saturday night’s victory after winning 89-82 on Jan. 26 at Trask Coliseum.
The Phoenix plays at Schar Center for the final time this season on Saturday, Feb. 21, hosting College of Charleston on Senior Night at 7 p.m. Prior to the contest, the program will recognize its four-member senior class of Sheldon Eberhardt, Karolis Kundrotas, Steven Santa Ana and Tyler Seibring.