ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s basketball team used an early second-half comeback to cut into a 15-point deficit to two with 11 minutes remaining, but they couldn’t overcome the UNC Asheville lead and the Bulldogs defeated the Phoenix, 78-67, on Tuesday night, Dec. 6, at Alumni Gym.
Tyler Seibring finished with a career-high 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Luke Eddy and Dainan Swoope added 12 each and Steven Santa Ana scored 11 for the Phoenix. Brian Dawkins grabbed a career-high nine rebounds and Eddy had a team-high five assists.
“Asheville came in with an edge and it showed at the beginning of the game,” said head coach Matt Matheny. “To our players’ credit I thought we came out of the locker room very well in the second half, and that was player-driven. That’s an area that I’m excited about, because I realize just how close we are to getting where we need to be, because player-driven leadership and player motivation is what we need. The hole was too deep against a team like Asheville. We will have to grow from this.”
The Phoenix (6-3) used a 20-9 run to start the second half to cut into a 15-point deficit and trailed UNC Asheville (6-4) by two, 47-45, with 11 minutes remaining. However, the Bulldogs answered with a 10-0 run and only allowed the Phoenix within seven over the final minutes to earn the victory.
UNC Asheville pulled out to a 17-7 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game. Using stingy defense in the first half, the Bulldogs took a 15-point lead, 38-23, into halftime as they held the Phoenix to 26.9 percent shooting from the floor in the period.
Undaunted, Elon responded with a 20-9 surge over the first 7:05 in the second half to pull within two, 47-45, at the 11:07 mark capped off by Tyler Seibring’s reverse layup off his own missed three. Seibring scored eight points for Elon during the run.
The Bulldogs responded with a 10-0 spark over the next 2:20 to take a 57-45 lead with 8:27 remaining. The Phoenix did erase part of the deficit to seven, 63-56, with 4:41 left in the game. Although Elon did not allow an Asheville field goal over the last 3:39, the Bulldogs held on for the win.
– Tyler Seibring finished with a career-high 21 points against the Bulldogs. He previously set his best mark earlier this season with 19 versus William Peace.
– Brian Dawkins grabbed a new career-high nine rebounds for Elon.
– Elon has four or more players in double figures for the seventh time this season.
The Phoenix hits the road on Saturday, Dec. 10, to face Radford at 4 p.m. inside the Donald N. Dedmon Center.