ELON, N.C. – The Phoenix mounted an improbable comeback going on an 8-0 with 14 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, and the Elon University men’s basketball team earned the incredible 103-93 victory over Kennesaw State on Monday night, November 30, in Alumni Gym.
Tanner Samson led the way for the Phoenix (4-3) with career-highs of 31 points and 11 rebounds for his second-career double-double. Christian Hairston also had a career night recording his second-career double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Luke Eddy and Dainan Swoope also finished in double figures with 12 and 13 points respectively. Eddy recorded a team-high five assists on the night.
Kendrick Ray led the way for the Owls (1-7) with 28 points and 12 rebounds for the double-double. Yonel Brown recorded a team-high 31 points.
“I’m thrilled with the way our guys played until the very last second of regulation and the way we played in overtime”, said head coach Matt Matheny after the hard-fought win. “We’re thrilled to walk out of tonight with a victory. It’s great to be able to smile after a game like that. We had a lot of great performances and just a toughness.”
Trailing 89-81 with 16 seconds on the clock, Luke Eddy scored a layup and after two missed free throws by the Owls. Dainan Swoope nailed a three pointer with seven seconds remaining to make the score 89-86.
Down by three with five seconds left, Tanner Samson stole the inbounds pass and Eddy drew a foul on a three-point attempt with one second left to earn three tries at the strike. The junior made all three free throws sending the game into overtime.
The Phoenix outscored the Owls 14-4 in the overtime period to complete the unbelievable 103-93 comeback victory in Alumni Gym.
In the first half, Samson was red hot to start the game scoring 11 of the team’s first 14 points to give the Phoenix a 14-12 lead with 12:23 in the half. It continued to be a back and forth game between the two sides, but Elon ultimately came out with the 39-36 lead at the half.
Kennesaw State caught fire in the second half shooting 60 percent from the field and building up its largest leads of the game at nine, 72-63 and 78-69, at the 6:17 and 4:44 marks respectively in the half.
Elon clawed back into the game, trailing by two 81-79 with just 2:10 left on the clock after a layup from Steven Santa Ana. The Owls went on an 8-2 run over the next 56 seconds surging to an eight point lead 89-81 with 19 seconds on the clock.
Then, the in unbelievable happened. Elon made its unlikely comeback scoring eight points in the final 16 seconds to send the game into overtime. The Phoenix topped off the wild finished with, outscoring the Owls 14-4 in the overtime stanza to complete the 103-93 victory.
– Tanner Samson set career-highs with 31 points and 12 rebounds against the Owls. He is the first Elon player to score 30 in a game since Austin Hamilton on Jan. 24, 2015 against Delaware.
– The senior out of Littleton, Colo. tied his single game career-high with eight three pointers against the Owls, as he finished 8-15 behind the arc.
– Samson is now second all-time in program history with 262 made treys. He now trails Jack Isenbarger (264) by two made threes.
– Samson moves into a tie for 32nd on the all-time scoring list with 1,046 points, tied Frank DeRita (’59).
– Christian Hairston notched his second career double-double, recording career highs in points (21) and rebounds (13). The rebound total is an individual season high for the Phoenix.
– Elon scored 100+ points against a Division I opponent for the first time since the 2003-04 season, when they topped UNCG 112-108 in 3OT on Feb, 28, 2004.
– Dainan Swoope scored in double-figures for the seventh consecutive game with his 13 points against Kennesaw State.
– With his 95th career win, head coach Matt Matheny is six wins away from moving into sixth place on the all-time wins list. William Morningstar is in sixth with 101 wins from 1979-86.
Elon hits the road on Friday, Dec. 4, to face off against the FIU Panthers for a 7 p.m. tip. The Phoenix returns home on Sunday, Dec. 13, as they host the Wesley College Wolverines at 7 p.m. in Alumni Gym.