Charlotte Pulls Away Late to Hand Elon Men’s Basketball First Loss

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Elon University men’s basketball team suffered its first loss of the season on Friday, Nov. 15, at Halton Arena, dropping an 83-69 road decision to the Charlotte 49ers.

Elon (2-1) led for most of the way until Charlotte (2-1) took a one-point lead with 6:53 remaining in the second half and went on a 19-5 over the next four minutes to take a 14-point lead and put the game out of reach.

Charlotte shot 62 percent in the second period and outscored the Phoenix in the paint, 42-28, for the game.

“I thought it was a very hard-fought game for the better part of 33 or 34 minutes,” said Elon head coach Matt Matheny. “We held tough, even though they were out rebounding us and getting to the foul line, but you can’t hold on forever in that regard and that came back to haunt us during a stretch at the end.”

The 49ers controlled the glass in the win, 47-26, grabbing 12 boards on offense to secure a total of 16 second-chance points against the maroon and gold.

Elon put four players in double figures for the third straight game, led by 19 points from Austin Hamilton on 8-of-13 shooting. Hamilton also tied for a game-high with five assists.

Sebastian Koch and Tanner Samson each scored 12 in the setback, while Ryley Beaumont finished with 11 points.

The 49ers had two players record double-doubles, as Shawn Lester ended the night with 24 points and 11 boards off the bench and Willie Clayton scored 12 to go along with 11 rebounds.

Samson pushed the Phoenix out to a 12-point lead with 10:36 to play in the first half and forced a Charlotte timeout after knocking down a triple from the wing to give Elon an 18-6 lead. But the 49ers stormed back, making it a one-point game, 18-17, less than two minutes later.

The 49ers took their first lead of the game with 2:18 to play after a Mike Thorne Jr. old-fashioned three-point play put Elon down, 28-27. Thorne Jr. finished with 14 points.

The two teams went into the locker room at intermission deadlocked at 32-all. Elon shot 36 percent from the field in the opening frame, but managed to knock down just 4-of-15 (27 percent) from three-point land. The Phoenix turned 11 turnovers by the 49ers into 14 points, while Charlotte scored only six points off Elon’s five first-half miscues.

Hamilton gave the Phoenix a five-point edge with less than 14 minutes to play in the second period after knocking down a corner three to make it a 48-43 game. Minutes later, the junior from Herndon, Va., completed an old-fashioned three-point play that gave Elon a 51-47 lead.

Troutman accomplished a career-first with 8:34 to play in the second half, as the senior knocked down his first career three-pointer to give Elon a 56-50 edge.

But Charlotte regained the lead with 6:53 to play after Thorne Jr. knocked down a layup and free throw to complete a 7-0 run and put the Phoenix behind by one, 57-56.

The 49ers caught fire from that point forward, going on a 14-6 run to take a nine-point lead, 71-62, with 2:34 remaining in the game. Charlotte closed the final 6:53 of the game on a 25-13 run.

Elon returns to action on Monday at 5 p.m. at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway, N.J., versus Drexel in the 2013 NIT Season Tip-Off.