ELON, N.C. – Sebastian Koch recorded his 1,000th career point on Saturday night, Jan. 18, in front of a record crowd in Alumni Gym, but it was not enough for the Elon men’s basketball team in a 84-74 setback to No. 15/16 UMass.
Elon falls to 10-9 with the loss, while UMass improves to 16-1. Tonight’s crowd of 1,857 is a new Alumni Gym record since the arena went under renovations prior to the 2010-11 season.
“It was a tremendous beginning to the day and into the night for Elon basketball,” said Elon head coach Matt Matheny. “It was amazing to see our students wrapped around the building when I arrived to the gym. It was an incredible opportunity and UMass is nationally recognized for a reason. I thought our guys played hard, but we did not play as clean as we needed to offensively.”
Koch finished the night with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting, joining teammates Lucas Troutman and Jack Isenbarger in the 1,000-point club in the second period when his three from the wing fell through with 19:36 left.
Troutman scored a team-high 19 points, while Tanner Samson added 14.
Elon could not find a rhythm from the field, shooting 34 percent and going just 9-of-24 from three-point land.
UMass ended the night shooting 46 percent from the field and 74 percent (26-of-35) from the free throw line.
The Minutemen took a 13-point lead and forced an Elon timeout with 8:43 remaining in the first period following a Maxie Esho jumper from the top of the key that made it a 27-14 game.
UMass carried a 41-30 lead into the locker room at intermission after limiting the Phoenix to 30 percent shooting in the opening frame, including a 3-of-13 mark from long distance. The Minutemen knocked down 52 percent (16-of-31) from the field in the first period, as Cady Lalanne led all scorers with 16 points.
Tanner Samson pulled the Phoenix within eight and forced a UMass timeout with 7:08 to play after knocking down a three near the Elon bench that made it a 64-56 game.
Troutman pulled Elon within seven with 5:21 left after completing an old-fashioned three-point play to make it a 69-62 game. But that was as close as the Phoenix would get down the stretch, as it could not get over the hump.
With its non-conference slate in the rearview mirror, Elon hits the road for back-to-back games on Jan. 23 at Chattanooga and Jan. 25 at Samford.