Elon MBB Phoenix Holds On For 84-81 Overtime Victory Against FIU

ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s basketball team extended its winning streak to five games with an 84-81 victory in overtime against Florida International Wednesday night in Alumni Gym.


Elon improved to 6-1 with the victory, marking the best start to a season since 1987-88. FIU fell to 3-5 with the loss.

The Phoenix never trailed in the overtime period and took a four-point lead on a Brian Dawkins dunk on an assist from Dainan Swoope with 24 seconds to play.

Dawkins led Elon with 17 points while Tyler Seibring (16), Luke Eddy (13), Steven Santa Ana (13) and Karolis Kundrotas (12) also reached double figures in scoring. Elon shot 44 percent for the game and held FIU to 39 percent shooting.

Eric Nottage made a 3-pointer as time expired in regulation to send the game to overtime and the Panthers missed a last-second heave as time expired in the overtime period to give Elon the win. FIU’s Donte McGill scored a game-high 27 points while Michael Kessens added 17 points and 23 rebounds for the Panthers.

“There was an opportunity to get it in regulation and you’ve got to give FIU credit for fighting back into the game, hitting a big shot,” Elon head coach Matt Matheny said. “I think you’ve got to give our guys a big amount of credit, coming into overtime ready to go. They turned the page and went to a next-play mentality and gutted it out.”

Elon led for the entirety of the overtime period. The Phoenix’s advantage stood at 81-77 with 24 seconds left after Swoope broke out of a trap to find Dawkins for a dunk. Santa Ana hit a pair of free throws to make it 84-81 with two seconds to play before FIU’s last-second try missed.

Dawkins’ floater with 21 seconds left in regulation gave Elon a 66-62 lead before the Panthers stormed back to force overtime on Nottage’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

The Phoenix built a 19-point lead in the second half before the Panthers cut Elon’s advantage to one with less than eight minutes to play. Elon led 64-55 after a three-point play by Karolis Kundrotas with 3:25 left.

Seibring and Santa Ana each scored seven early points to give Elon a 14-8 lead with 11:40 to play in the first half. Swoope followed with a 3-pointer to stretch the advantage to nine.

The Phoenix held a 22-14 lead at the under-8 timeout of the first half before the Panthers used a 12-0 run to take a four-point lead. Kundrotas, Seibring and Eddy each sank 3-pointers in the final minutes of the first half to give Elon a 34-30 lead at the break.

– Elon improved to 6-1 with the win, matching its best start since the 1987-88 season.
– Elon’s 84-point scoring night marks the seventh-straight game that the Phoenix has scored at least 70 points. It’s the first time Elon has scored 70 or more points in seven-straight games since the 1987-88 season.
– The Phoenix had five players reach double figures in scoring for the second time this season.
– Brian Dawkins scored in doubles figures for the sixth time in seven games and set career-high with eight field goals made.
– Karolis Kundrotas set a career-high with seven rebounds and scored in double figures for the third time this season.
– Elon has scored 80 or more points in five of its seven games this season.

The Phoenix hits the road to face Georgetown in Washington D.C. on Sunday, Dec. 4. Tip is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at Verizon Center.

Head coach Matt Matheny

Opening statement
“What a special night to get a victory. It’s a very good win and obviously a special night when we can pause and think about the impact that Dr. Danieley had and will continue to have on this campus. We feel fortunate to get the victory on a special night.”

On inbounding the ball down the stretch…
“We didn’t turn it over. We talked to our players a lot about, it doesn’t have to be pretty, it has to be tough. Our guys know where we want them to be. It makes your heart skip a beat. Dainan was in that trap for what seemed like forever, but our guys know you get 10 seconds. Credit to him to throw it ahead and we got a dunk to make it a four-point spread.”