Elon University 80
Coming in from Wesley Jones live at the Greensboro Coliseum…….
Troutman, Isenbarger Lead Elon Men’s Basketball to 80-72 Victory at UNCG
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Several members of the current Elon men’s basketball team were not even born the last time Elon opened the season with a 6-2 mark. But, with an 80-72 victory against the host UNCG Spartans at the Greensboro Coliseum on Monday night, these players have now accomplished something that hasn’t happened in the last 20 years of Elon basketball. And these boys are just getting started.
Behind 19 points apiece from sophomores Lucas Troutman and Jack Isenbarger, the Phoenix held off a feisty late rally by the Spartans (2-7, 0-3) to win its third straight and improve to 2-0 in Southern Conference action. Troutman was an impressive 8-of-9 from the field, including a one-handed follow dunk that brought a rowdy group of Elon supporters to its feet. The Phoenix shot 50 percent from the field and sealed the victory with clutch free throw shooting, connecting on 12-of-14 (85.7) from the stripe.
“We are very excited to get this victory,” Elon head men’s basketball coach Matt Matheny said. “This was a tough, hard fought win as is typical in the conference. I thought rebounds and loose balls dictated the ebbs and flows of the game. We hit some big shots in the second half that helped us to the win. This team is getting better.”
Some of those big shots came in the form of three-pointers. After UNCG had overcome a nine-point deficit to grab the lead, rookie Austin Hamilton and sophomore Sebastian Koch drained back-to-back triples midway through the second half to put Elon back in front for good.
Koch, who sat for the majority of the first half due to foul trouble, came up with 10 points and nine rebounds in only 19 minutes. Hamilton also picked up early fouls but he found teammates for big buckets in the second half that helped grow the Elon lead to as many as 14 points. The point guard finished with seven points and four assists.
The Elon defense had its hands full with UNCG’s Trevis Simpson who dropped 27 points, including a stretch of 13 straight late in the contest to help UNCG pull within four in the final 90 seconds. The Phoenix has held opponents to under 40 percent shooting in each victory, the Spartans being no different. UNCG shot 25-of-67 (37.3) and despite coming up with 19 offensive boards, managed only 15 second-chance points. Elon wasn’t afraid to stand in to pressure underneath the basket, taking four charges, include three in the first 10 minutes of action.
It was a game of runs and after Elon took a 38-34 lead into the break, UNCG came out firing and scored three treys in an 11-6 run that put the Spartans in front 45-43 with 15:40 to play. Isenbarger answered with the three that he is becoming known for and Troutman finished an and-one to put the Phoenix back ahead, 49-45.
Two quick buckets by UNCG and a near turnover forced an Elon timeout and Hamilton and Koch answered the call of duty on the next two Phoenix possessions. The treys started an 18-4 stretch that gave Elon what seemed to be a comfortable 67-53 advantage with 6:51 remaining. And then the Simpson show began as he scored 13 straight and the UNCG press forced several Phoenix turnovers. Despite seeing its lead dwindle to as few as four, 74-70, Elon could not be shaken at the line as Phoenix shooters hit their final six freebies en route to the victory.
Elon will return to Alumni Gym for its final home game of 2011 when the Phoenix hosts Lynchburg on Sunday, December 11 at 2 p.m.