DEKALB, Ill. – Led by career-highs from Dainan Swoope and Brian Dawkins, the Elon men’s basketball team opened the NIU Thanksgiving Classic with a 91-80 victory over UIC on Wednesday, Nov. 23, inside the Convocation Center.
Swoope finished 9-of-14 from the field and made three triples for his 26 points in 23 minutes of action. Dawkins was an efficient 7-of-9 from the floor, finished a perfect 3-of-3 from deep and grabbed seven rebounds. In addition, Tyler Seibring scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds, while Dmitri Thompson tallied 11 points and grabbed a team-high eight boards.
UIC was led by Dikembe Dixson’s double-double of 32 points and 10 rebounds. Tai Odiase added 17 and Marcus Ottey scored 11 for the Flames.
Elon improves to 3-1 overall with the victory and the Flames fall to 2-2 with the loss. The Phoenix faces the host Northern Illinois on Friday in its second game of the tournament on Friday.
Brian Dawkins’ opening triple began a 21-8 Elon surge that was capped off at the 10:27 mark with a slam-dunk by Dmitri Thompson. The Phoenix reached its largest lead of the half, 32-16, with just over seven minutes left in the period following an Eberhardt three-pointer. UIC attempted to claw its way back into the contest but the maroon and gold held a 44-31 advantage at the half.
Elon opened the second half with an 18-8 run to create a 21-point cushion, the team’s largest lead of the game with 13:24 left after a Swoope three-pointer. UIC threatened with a 10-4 run over the next four minutes, but a quick 9-4 burst by the Phoenix pushed its lead to 18 lead with 5:43 to play.
The Flames cut into the Phoenix lead late, making it 82-70 with 2:56 to go, but Elon held on for the 91-80 victory to open the tournament.
– Elon held UIC to 30.9 (10-of-33) percent shooting in the first half and 1-of-17 shooting from three-point range.
– Dainan Swoope (26) and Brian Dawkins (19) each set new career-highs in scoring.
– For the third consecutive game, Elon had four players (Dawkins, Swoope, Seibring, and Thompson) score in double-figures.
– For the second consecutive game, Elon outrebounded its opponent. The Phoenix had a +7 advantage with a 40-33 count.
– The last time the Phoenix started 2-0 on the road was the 2002-03 season.
– It’s the first 3-1 start to a season since the 2012-13 campaign.
– The last time that Elon scored 90+ points in three of its first four games was in the 1955-56 season.
– Elon is now 1-1 all time against the Horizon League.
Elon continues the NIU Thanksgiving Classic on Friday, Nov. 25, with a matchup against the Northern Illinois Huskies. The game will tip off at 2 p.m. eastern time (1 p.m. CT). The Phoenix closes the tournament on Saturday at 2 p.m. eastern time against the Cal Poly Mustangs.