ELON, N.C. – Austin Hamilton scored a career-high 31 points to lift the Elon (11-10, 3-5 CAA) men’s basketball team to a 94-82 win over the visiting Delaware (4-15, 3-5 CAA) Blue Hens on Saturday night, Jan. 24, in front of a sellout crowd at Alumni Gym.
“We all fight and we all trust one another, and I had a feeling that something was going to happen that we were all going to be proud of,” Hamilton said.
Everything fell for Hamilton in the win, as the senior from Herndon, Va., finished 10-of-13 from the floor and knocked down a career-best six triples. Hamilton is the first Elon player to scored 30+ points inside Alumni Gym since Jack Isenbarger’s 34-point performance versus The Citadel on Feb. 4, 2012.
Tinkering with its starting lineup and going with four guards, the Phoenix had all of its starters finish in double figures with Hamilton leading the charge. Kevin Blake ended the night with 19 points, followed by Tanner Samson’s second double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 boards. Elijah Bryant and Christian Hairston, who started the game for the Phoenix in place of Ryan Winters and Tony Sabato, finished with 10 points apiece.
“I thought we got contributions from a lot of guys tonight,” said Elon head coach Matt Matheny. “I really thought our guys played with a calm aggression. I’m really happy for [Austin] to have a night like that, and I hope he can do it again.”
Elon was able to overcome a 55-percent shooting night by the Blue Hens by dominating the boards, 40-34, which included 16 offensive rebounds that resulted in 13 second-chance points. Elon won the turnover battle against UD as well, 14-8.
The Phoenix and Blue Hens jockeyed for position in the first half with eight total lead changes, but Bryant’s long two-pointer as time expired gave Elon a 41-39 advantage at intermission.
Hamilton tied his previous season-high in points with 11 in the first 20 minutes, while Bryant registered 10 first-half points in his first career start.
The Phoenix jumped out to a 10-point lead with 8:19 remaining in the second session after Hamilton buried his fifth triple of the game to give his squad a 71-61 lead, forcing a UD timeout.
UD battled back to pull within three with 6:26 to play after a Chivarsky Corbett jumper off the glass limited Elon to a 71-68 and forced a maroon and gold timeout.
Elon turned up the gas from that point forward, as big threes by Collin Luther and free throws down the stretch paved the way for a double-digit win.
Elon’s 94 points against the Blue Hens are the most against a league foe since a 99-point output against UNCG on Feb. 19, 2011.
Elon hits the road for its next two games, beginning with a Wednesday contest at UNCW.