ELON, N.C. – Behind a record crowd of 1,804, the Elon men’s basketball team closed out the regular season in impressive fashion on Saturday night, topping Triad rival and Southern Conference North Division champion UNCG, 93-79, on Senior Night inside Alumni Gym. The Phoenix (14-15, 9-9) snapped a five-game losing skid and matched its most SoCon wins since the 2006-07 season to send lone senior Drew Spradlin out on a winning note.
With the victory and a Samford loss tonight, Elon earns the SoCon North Division second seed and a bye in the first round of conference tournament next week in Asheville.
Elon never trailed after jumping out to a 21-2 lead to start the game, draining 10-of-20 from long range and getting to the line 39 times.
“I told my friends and family I didn’t care about how I played tonight,” Spradlin said. “We’d been on a skid and I didn’t want to go out on a losing streak. It means everything to me to get this win. We got off to a good start that helped us get the win. The crowd and atmosphere was unbelievable. We feed off that.”
Elon’s sophomore trio of Jack Isenbarger, Ryley Beaumont and Lucas Troutman combined for 62 points. Isenbarger scored a game-high 24 points on 7-of-15 shooting in the win, including a 6-of-9 clip from beyond the arc.
Beaumont registered a career-high 20 points for the maroon and gold, knocking down 9-of-13 shots from the field. Beaumont also pulled down eight boards in 33 minutes.
Troutman and Austin Hamilton scored in double figures for Elon, ending the night with 18 and 11, respectively. Troutman knocked down a career-high 10 shots from the free throw line in the victory.
Elon and UNCG finished tied on the glass at 45 rebounds apiece, as Sebastian Koch led all players with a game- and career-high 12 boards.
SoCon leading scorer Trevis Simpson led the visitors with 22 points.
Spradlin knocked down the first jumper of the game to set the Phoenix offense in motion. Elon scored the first 13 points of the game and did the job on the defensive end as UNCG opened 0-of-8 from the field. Isenbarger hit consecutive triples and Koch dumped in another bucket to put the Phoenix on top, 21-2, at the 14:35 mark.
A Hamilton three ball gave Elon its biggest lead of the game at 36-14 and forced a UNCG timeout with just over eight minutes to play before the break. A quick 10-0 Spartan run ensued and UNCG would close the half on a 25-12 stretch that made it a nine-point game, 48-39, after 20 minutes.
UNCG scored five of the first seven points in the second stanza to trim the gap to six, but back-to-back Beaumont buckets extended the lead back to double figures.
The Spartans would never get closer than nine for the remainder of the contest with Elon pushing its advantage to 19 on multiple occasions.
Elon scored 48 points in the first half after mustering only 45 against Davidson on Thursday night. The Phoenix connected on 28-of-61 (45.9 percent) and had 14 assists on 28 field goals. UNCG shot just over 41 percent for the game, but a dismal 4-of-17 (23.5 percent) from beyond the arc.
The Phoenix will play the winner of Chattanooga and Georgia Southern on Saturday, March 3 at 8:30 p.m.