ELON, N.C. – Steven Santa Ana and Tyler Seibring led a Phoenix comeback, scoring 18 of the team’s final 22 points. However, the Cougars made clutch defensive plays in the final seconds and converted from the free throw line as the Elon University men’s basketball team fell to the College of Charleston 66-62 on Saturday, Feb. 13, inside Alumni Gym.
Down by seven with 1:22 remaining in the game, the maroon and gold used a 5-0 run capped off by a clutch three-pointer from Seibring in the corner with 1:00 on the clock to cut into Charleston’s lead 62-60.
Luke Eddy’s layup with 26 seconds left made it a one-point game 63-62. After the Cougars split a pair of free throws, they used a strong defensive play on Eddy’s shot attempt to tie the game with seven seconds on the clock. Charleston made its final free throws to secure the 66-62 win.
Elon’s (14-13, 5-9 CAA) freshmen duo scored a total of 37 points, which included a season-high 20 from Santa Ana on 8-of-11 shooting. Seibring chipped in 17 points, four rebounds and three assists.
The Cougars (16-9, 8-6 CAA) were led by Jerrell Brantley’s 20 points and nine rebounds, while Cameron Johnson added 15 points and Payton Hulsey scored 10 for the College of Charleston.
After the first 12:22 in the game, the Phoenix led 17-10 after Jack Anton’s three-point play, giving Elon a seven-point lead. After the Cougars brought the game back within three points, Elon created a six-point cushion, 22-16, after a Santa Ana triple with 7:58 left in the half.
Charleston locked down Elon defensively the remaining 7:58 of the half holding the Phoenix to one field goal, which came from a Santa Ana layup with 18 seconds on the clock. The Cougars took a 34-29 lead into the locker room at the half.
In the second half, the Cougars came out firing, jumping out to a 10-point lead, 42-32, with 17:22 remaining. Charleston pulled out to a 13-point lead 51-38 after Brantley’s jumper with 11:23 on the clock. The Cougars would also lead by 13 points, 58-45, with 7:09 left in the half, the largest lead of the game for the visitors.
Starting at the 10:36 mark in the half with Elon trailing 51-40, Santa Ana and Seibring scored 18 of Elon’s final 22 points to lead a Phoenix comeback.
The run was fueled by Santa Ana’s 11 consecutive points as part of an 11-5 run over 4:30 after trailing 53-42 at the 9:04 mark, cutting into Charleston’s lead 58-53 with 4:34 remaining. Seibring came in the clutch with a three-pointer from the corner at the 1:00 mark to make it a two-point game, 62-60.
Eddy’s layup with 26 seconds left made it a one-point game 63-62. The Cougars responded after splitting a pair of free throws with a strong defensive play on Eddy’s shot attempt to tie the game with seven seconds on the clock. Charleston made its final attempts from the line to secure the 66-62 win.
– Santa Ana set a season-high with 20 points against the College of Charleston, including 13 in the second half.
– Five of the team’s nine CAA losses have been by four points or less.
– In Elon’s last four losses, the Phoenix has been tied or trailing by two points or less in the final nine seconds of the game.
– Seibring has scored in double-figures during nine of Elon’s 14 conference games.
The Phoenix hits the road for a northern trip next week. Elon opens the week with a trip to Drexel on Thursday night for a 7 p.m. tip, followed by a noon game at Towson on Comcast Sports Network (CSN).