Elon MBB Wins Overtime Thriller at Delaware

NEWARK, Del. – Kevin Blake drained a career-high five threes to lead the Elon University men’s basketball team to an 83-75 overtime win at Delaware on Saturday, Feb. 21, at the Bob Carpenter Center.

All five of Blake’s triples came in the second half, as Elon rallied from 11 points down to top the Blue Hens in a back-and-forth battle that saw five lead changes and six ties throughout the afternoon. The senior guard from Toronto, Ontario, led four Phoenix players in double figures with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting.

“Our players are tough, and for us to go through the adversity we’re going through right now and to compete the way we did today is a testament to our seniors,” said Elon head coach Matt Matheny. “Kevin [Blake] is the ultimate warrior for being able to compete the way he is right now. Kevin and Austin [Hamilton] are verbal leaders in practice every day and were tough as nails today. Our guys were focused on the immediate for the entire game today and as a result we were able to come out with the victory.”

The Phoenix saw the Blue Hens rally from eight points down to tie the game in the final 2:32 of the second half. UD knotted the game at 74-all with less than 30 seconds remaining after Chivarsky Corbett stole the ball and went coast-to-coast for a layup.

Elon had a chance to win the final in the final seconds, but Austin Hamilton’s spin and drive, which led to a short jumper, was no good.

Tanner Samson struck first in overtime, nailing his fourth three of the game to put his squad up three with 2:29 remaining. The Elon defense held the Blue Hens in OT, not allowing a field goal make for the entire five-minute extra session.

Samson played a career-high 40 minutes and finished with 16 points and six boards. Just in front of Samson playing 41 minutes was Austin Hamilton, who ended the day with 16 points and tied career-high nine assists. Elijah Bryant just missed a double-double, as a the rookie ended the game with 10 points and nine boards.

Elon’s 14 threes as a team are the most in a game this season and most since it connected on 15 against Georgia State in the NIT Season Tip-Off last season.

Elon narrowed an 11-point first-half deficit down to three with 10:29 remaining after Hamilton slashed through the middle of the lane for a layup to make it a 20-17 game.

Christian Hairston knotted the game at 33-all with 1:34 to play in the first period after completing an old-fashioned three-point play on an up-and-under layup and foul.

Elon briefly took a one-point lead on a Hamilton triple before the half, but UD’s Kyle Anderson connected from deep on the wing in the waning moments to give the Hens a 38-36 lead at the break.

Both squads shot at a high percentage in the opening frame, as UD went 13-of-26 (50 percent) from the floor, while Elon connected on 13-of-27 (48 percent) of its field goal attempts. Hamilton and Anderson led all players in points with 14 and 13, respectively.

Elon quickly jumped out to a three-point lead to start the second half after Blake connected from deep on the wing to complete a 5-0 run and give the maroon and gold a 41-38 lead.

But UD responded later in the half, going on an 8-0 run to take a 49-46 game with 13:33 to play, forcing a Phoenix timeout.

Blake helped push Elon back in the lead again minutes later after connecting on his fourth triple of the game to give the Phoenix a 57-53 lead with 9:44 on the clock. The senior guard extended Elon’s lead to six points three minutes later when his fifth triple gave the Phoenix a 65-59 edge.

Corbett brought the Blue Hens fans to their feet and forced a Phoenix timeout with 4:19 remaining after his deep three from the top of the key limited Elon to a 67-65 lead. Corbett hit another big three, this time from the far corner, with 1:12 remaining to limit Elon to a 74-72 lead.

Corbett came up with a big steal for the Blue Hens with under a minute to play, taking the ball coast-to-coast for the game’s biggest bucket at the time to knot it at 74-all.

Elon had a chance to win it in regulation with 28.2 seconds left on the clock, but Hamilton’s jumper in the paint misfired and sent the game to overtime.

But it was all Elon in overtime, as Samson’s triple and a stingy defensive effort that held UD to 0-of-8 from the floor in the final five minutes sparked the victory.

Elon wraps up the regular season with home games next week against Northeastern (Feb. 26) and UNCW (Feb. 28).