ELON, N.C. – A tough and physical battle ended in the favor of the Elon University men’s basketball team on Saturday night, Jan. 19, as the Phoenix grinded out a 68-61 victory over the visiting Wofford Terriers inside a packed and boisterous Alumni Gym.
Trailing by three with 4:31 remaining in the game, Elon (11-7, 4-2 Southern Conference) caught fire and went on a 13-3 run down the stretch to secure the win over Wofford (7-12, 1-5 Southern Conference), its third straight league win.
“Tonight was a tough and physical battle and I’m proud of the way our guys led each other for all 40 minutes,” said Elon head coach Matt Matheny. “Wofford is a great program and they played tonight like they have over the past several years. I felt like our guys decided the game in the end and these are the games you have to win in this league to be successful.”
With the score knotted at 58-all with 3:20 left, Sebastian Koch drove baseline and hit a key up-and-under layup to give the Phoenix a 60-58 advantage, one it would not relinquish in the final minutes. Jack Isenbarger and Lucas Troutman went a combined 6-for-6 at the free throw line in the final 1:52 to keep the Terriers at arm’s length.
Isenbarger led the Phoenix with 17 points in the victory, pushing his career total to 995 points. The Zionsville, Ind., native connected on three triples, which ties him with former teammate Drew Spradlin for fourth on Elon’s all-time chart with 180. Isenbarger also hauled down six rebounds.
Troutman scored in double figures for the 17th straight game, finishing the night with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field to go along with six boards and two blocks.
Tanner Samson was the third Phoenix player in double figures with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting, including a 2-of-7 clip from beyond the arc. As a team, Elon ended the night 7-of-21 from three-point land.
Despite losing the battle on the boards, 33-30, the Phoenix won the turnover battle, 14-11, and turned Wofford’s miscues into a total of 20 points.
Elon shot 46 percent (23-of-50) form the field in the win, while limiting Wofford to 37-percent shooting. The Phoenix improves to 9-0 on the year when it holds its opponent below 40 percent from the field.
The two squads battled back and forth in the opening frame, as the Terriers carried a two-point lead, 29-27, into the locker room at intermission.
Both Elon and Wofford had lackluster shooting numbers in the opening frame. The Phoenix knocked down 36 percent of its shots from the field in the first half, while the Terriers connected on just 8-of-21 (38 percent) of its field goal attempts.
Isenbarger capped off a 9-0 run with 11:32 to play in the second half after burying a three-pointer from the top of the key to put the Phoenix faithful on its feet and giving his squad a 45-39 edge.
Following a short run by Wofford, Isenbarger knotted the game with 3:20 remaining after splitting a pair of free throws to tie it, 58-all. On the next possession, Koch’s up-and-under layup along the baseline gave Elon its final lead of the game.
Wofford’s Karl Cochran ended the night with a game-high 18 points on 8-of-17 shooting.
The Phoenix concludes a three-game homestand on Thursday night, Jan. 24, when it welcomes Chattanooga to Alumni Gym for a 7 p.m. tip.