PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Canisius’ Billy Baron’s buzzer-beating three pointer spoiled a valiant effort by the Elon University men’s basketball team on Tuesday night, Nov. 19, as the Golden Griffins escaped the Rutgers Athletic Center with an 86-85 decision over the Phoenix in the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Following an Elon (2-3) turnover with 10.1 seconds left, Baron took the ball up the court and buried a three from the top of the key as the buzzer sounded, allowing his Canisius (2-2) squad to escape with a one-point win.
The Phoenix turned the ball over three times in the final 1:32 of the game, leading to six Canisius points and spoiling what was a solid second half by the maroon and gold.
“Tonight was heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking,” said Elon head coach Matt Matheny. “We fought and responded very well from a disappointing loss yesterday, but made some mistakes down the stretch and they hit a big shot to win it.”
Elon went on a 15-0 run in the second half to come back from five points down, which largely sparked by the play off the bench by rookie Luke Eddy. Eddy scored eight for Elon during the run and stifled the Griffs on defense to give the Phoenix momentum and a 10-point lead with 10:00 remaining.
The Phoenix led by eight, 85-77, with 2:43 remaining, but the Griffs closed the game on a 9-0 run, capped off by Baron’s game-winner, to hand Elon its third straight loss.
Eddy scored a career-high 23 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field and an impressive 11-of-11 performance at the free throw line. As a team, Elon knocked down 24-of-27 (89 percent) from the charity stripe.
Lucas Troutman matched Eddy with a game-high 23 points, as the senior knocked down 8-of-16 from the field and 7-of-10 from the free throw line.
Elon outrebounded Canisius 34-25, grabbing 13 offensive boards that led to a total of 17 second-chance points.
Elon ended the night shooting 46 percent from the field, including 47 percent (9-of-19) from beyond the arc.
Tanner Samson ended the night with 16 points, while Ryley Beaumont finished with 14. Rookie Christian Hairston grabbed a game-high eight rebounds for the Phoenix.
Elon returns to action on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 25-26, next week for the consolation rounds of the NIT Season Tip-Off. All games will be played on campus sites of the remaining teams. Stay connected to elonphoenix.com and follow @elonphoenix on Twitter for additional information on the games.