TAMPA, Fla. – The Elon men’s basketball team put together a solid team-effort as all Phoenix players that saw the floor scored, leading the maroon and gold to a 74-61 victory at South Florida on Thursday, Nov. 17, inside the Sun Dome. For the third straight game, the Phoenix had four players finish in double-figures.
Steven Santa Ana and Brian Dawkins led the scoring for the Phoenix with 13 points each. Karolis Kundrotas and Luke Eddy also scored in double-figures, recording 11 points apiece. Dmitri Thompson grabbed a team-high six rebounds and Sheldon Eberhardt dished out a game-high five assists.
South Florida also had four players finish with double digit-scoring led by Geno Thorpe who scored a game-high 16 points. Tulio Da Silva grabbed nine rebounds for the Bulls and Bo Zeigler had four assists.
“We’re pleased with the fact we played a little better tonight than we did in our last outing,” said head coach Matt Matheny. “Since that game we put a lot focus into playing better defense and we had some good defensive stretches. And then I thought South Florida is really long and didn’t give us quite as many good looks as we got the other night but we were able to run our offense and get some points out of our offense that helped us get the victory.”
After trailing 12-8 after five minutes of action, the Elon used a 16-2 surge over the next 4:55 to take a 27-14 lead after Dmitri Thompson hit a three-pointer. USF responded with a 6-2 run capped off by a Michael Bibby triple with 5:50 on the clock, but a 10-4 run by the Phoenix to close out the half gave Elon a 39-26 lead at the break.
In the second half, the Phoenix got off to a hot start with an 8-0 run to extend its lead 47-26. USF responded with an 8-2 run of its own to cut into the Elon lead 49-34 with 14:37 remaining, but a quick 6-0 run by Swoope and Eddy extended Elon’s lead by 21, 55-34, at the 13:52 mark.
Following a layup by Dawkins, Dmitri Thompson had a thunderous putback slam off a three-point miss to give the Phoenix a 57-41 lead with just under 13 minutes to play.
Over the final 10 minute stretch, USF continued to try to claw its way back into the game, outscoring Elon 20-13 in that stretch, but the Phoenix played well defensively and a combined team effort helped the maroon and gold clinch a 74-61 victory.
– Elon has now started the regular season with a 2-1 record five times in the last six seasons.
– It’s the first time that Elon has beaten a team from the American Athletic Conference.
– For the third consecutive game, Elon had four players score in double-figures.
– Elon won the battle on the boards, outrebounding USF 36-35.
Elon heads to DeKalb, Ill. to take part in the NIU Thanksgiving Classic, Nov. 23-26, hosted by Northern Illinois. The Phoenix will face the Huskies, University of Illinois-Chicago and Cal Poly.