EVANSTON, Ill. – The Elon men’s basketball team nearly pulled out the upset over Big Ten Conference opponent Northwestern on the road, but the Wildcats managed to pull out a 68-67 overtime decision over the Phoenix on Saturday, Nov. 22, at Ryan-Welsh Arena.
Elon (1-2) led Northwestern (4-0) nearly the entire way, until the ‘Cats’ Tre Demps hit a step-back jumper with 51.3 seconds left in OT to give NU a one-point lead, 68-67. The lead marked Northwestern’s first since the 14:44 mark of the first half.
The Phoenix had two shots by Tony Sabato and Elijah Bryant just miss in the game’s final 10 seconds that would have given Elon the lead, as NU managed to escape the upset and cling on for the win.
“Our kids played incredibly well and fought the entire way and it’s unfortunately we won’t get to taste victory tonight,” said Elon head coach Matt Matheny. “We still have a lot to learn and a long way to go. I’m pleased with how we fought on the boards on the road in a Big Ten arena and held our own.”
Elon won the turnover battle versus NU and held its own on the glass, as the ‘Cats grabbed just one more rebound (39-38) than the Phoenix. Elon hauled down 10 offensive rebounds in the game and has grabbed 27 on the offensive glass in its last two games.
Tanner Samson was the star of the night, knocking down eight triples for a game- and career-high 24 points. Samson’s eight threes are the most against a Division I foe since Sebastian Koch hit nine at Colorado last season.
Bryant finished with a season-high 16 points, while Luke Eddy pitched in 10 points for Elon.
Elon led the Wildcats by as many as 10 points early in the first half and again in the second half,
Elon treks to Cancun, Mexico, to resume play in the Cancun Challenge on Tuesday, Nov. 25, against Morgan State.