MIAMI – Behind the play of Christian Hairston and Luke Eddy, the Elon University men’s basketball team rallied down the stretch to claim a 77-71 road win over the Florida International Panthers on Friday, Dec. 4, at FIU Arena.
Trailing by six with 4:06 to play in the game, the Phoenix (5-3) went on an 18-6 run, led by the junior tandem of Hairston and Eddy, who made Elon’s final seven field goal makes from the floor to help secure the win over FIU (4-4). Over the final 3:43 of the game, the maroon and gold went 7-of-7 from the field.
Tanner Samson became Elon’s all-time leader in three-point field goal makes in the victory, passing Jack Isenbarger for first in school history. Samson knocked down five threes in the game to finish with 15 points. The senior from Littleton, Colo., now sits alone in first place with 267 career threes made.
Hairston finished the game with 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go along with six rebounds, while Eddy added 17 points and six assists. Dainan Swoope was the fourth Phoenix player in double figures with 11 points on the night.
Elon shot 45 percent from the floor on the night, connecting on 12-of-36 (33 percent) from three-point range in the victory. In the second half, the Phoenix shot 49 percent from the floor.
The Phoenix overcame a hot-shooting Panthers team that made 51 percent from the floor by forcing a total of 16 turnovers.
Elon led by as many as nine in the opening frame, as a Swoope steal led to a Hairston jumper that put the Phoenix ahead, 34-25. Elon carried a 36-31 advantage into the locker room at intermission, led by 12 first-half points by Samson.
But Elon’s lead was short-lived to begin the second session after a quick 7-0 run by FIU put the Phoenix down, 38-36, with 18:19 on the clock.
Elon clawed back to take an eight-point lead with 11:30 to play, but the pesky Panthers rallied with a 10-0 run over the next two minutes to take a 57-55 advantage.
However, it was all Elon down the stretch again for the second time this week. After a Diaz dunk put FIU ahead by six with 4:06 to play, the Phoenix closed the game with an 18-6 run, as Eddy continued to find the hot hand of Hairston in the waning moments to secure the victory.
Elon improves to 5-3 on the year heading into a three-game home stand that begins on Dec. 13 against Wesley.
– Samson became Elon’s all-time leader in three-point field goal makes in the victory, passing Jack Isenbarger for first in school history. Samson knocked down five threes in the game to finish with 15 points. The senior from Littleton, Colo., now sits alone in first place with 267 career threes made.
– Hairston scored 16 on 8-of-10 shooting for the Phoenix, his second consecutive double-digit scoring effort and the seventh of his career.
– Eddy finished with a team-high six assists for the game. He has led the team in assists in every game this season.
– Elon only turned the ball over seven times against the Panthers, the first time this season the Phoenix turned the ball over less than 10 times in a game. It was the first time since the CAA Tournament last season that Elon had less than 10 turnovers in a game, with six against the Towson Tigers on March 3, 2015.
– Swoope finished with 11 points against FIU, the eighth cosecutive double-digit scoring effort from the freshman.
– In the last four games, the point guard combo of Eddy and Swoope have averaged 27.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and seven assists per game. Elon is 3-1 overall in the last four games.
Elon will take a break next week before returning home on Sunday, Dec. 13, hosting the Wesley College Wolverines at 7 p.m. in Alumni Gym.