ELON, N.C. – Elijah Bryant’s potential game-winning three misfired at the buzzer, as the Elon men’s basketball team dropped a hard-fought 53-51 decision to Towson on Thursday night, Jan. 22, in CAA action from Alumni Gym.
With less than 30 seconds left and the game tied at 51-all, Towson’s Mike Morsell hit a floater in the lane after the Tigers worked the clock down on the possession to give his team a two-point lead, 53-51, with 1.6 seconds remaining on the clock.
On the final possession, Jack Anton fired a bullet to Bryant from the baseline, but Bryant’s 30-foot attempt was on line, but came up short as the buzzer sounded.
Elon drops to 10-10 (2-5 CAA), while Towson improves to 9-11 (2-5 CAA).
“It could’ve gone either way down the stretch, but the number that really jumps out is the offensive rebounds,” said Elon head coach Matt Matheny, eluding to the 23 offensive rebounds hauled down by Towson – a season-high for any opponent versus the Phoenix. “I’m encouraged that we had a chance to win the game after shooting 28 percent. We gave ourselves a chance to win when we didn’t play well offensively.”
Towson scored a total of 19 points of 23 offensive boards and dominated points in the paint, 32-14. Timajh Parker-Rivera (14 points, 11 boards) and John Davis (16 points, 10 boards) both recorded double-doubles for the Tigers.
Austin Hamilton and Elijah Bryant each scored a team-high 11 points for Elon, which shot a season-low 28.9 percent on 13-of-45 field goals. Elon is 0-9 this season when it shoots under 40 percent from the floor.
The Phoenix returned to form on defense against the three-ball, limiting Towson to 1-of-11 (9.1 percent) from beyond the arc – a season-low for any opponent.
The Tigers had a seven-minute scoring draught in the opening half, but the Phoenix could not take advantage and jumped ahead by as many as six with 12:19 to play.
Towson carried a 22-17 lead at intermission, holding the Phoenix to 5-of-24 from the floor (21 percent) in the first 20 minutes. Elon’s 17 points are the fewest in a half since it scored 16 versus UNCG on Feb. 17, 2010.
Elon reclaimed the lead early in the second half when Tanner Samson ended the maroon and gold’s three-point draught with a triple from the wing to make it a 23-22 game. Elon has now hit a three-pointer in 281 consecutive games.
After the Tigers jumped back to take the lead 16 minutes later, Bryant hit a pull-up three with 1:35 to play to give his squad a 51-49 advantage.
Towson responded with under a minute to play with a pair of Walter Foster freebies to knot it at 51-all.
After Bryant’s potential go-ahead basket on a drive through the lane missed, Morsell came up with the game-winner on the next possession to give the Tigers the game’s final lead. Morsell finished with eight points.
The Phoenix returns to the hardwood in two days against Delaware. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Alumni Gym.