WILMINGTON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s basketball team dropped its first CAA road test of the season, falling to league favorite UNCW, 79-63, on Monday, Jan. 2, inside Trask Coliseum.
Elon (8-7, 0-2 CAA) was led by Tyler Seibring’s team-high 15 points. Brian Dawkins added 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds, while Dainan Swoope scored 12 on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range. Steven Santa Ana added a team-best four assists and Christian Hairston chipped in six points off the bench.
“We dug ourselves a big hole and Wilmington played well at the start of the game,” said head coach Matt Matheny. “I was really impressed and proud of our players for fighting our way back in, to make it a much more competitive game down the stretch in the first half. I thought we did some really good things to get back into the game, and I thought they started the second half better than we did. Wilmington is playing well, Kevin is doing a great job, and we weren’t good enough to beat them tonight.”
UNCW (13-2, 2-0 CAA) had three players finish in double figures. C.J. Bryce had a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Chris Flemmings added 19 of his own and Denzel Ingram scored 17 for the Seahawks. Devontae Cacok finished with a game-high 15 rebounds.
After Brian Dawkins opened the game with a 3-pointer, UNCW jumped out to 20-point lead with a 23-0 run, taking a 23-3 lead at 11:25. The Seahawks quickly answered a Swoope three pointer and a Seibring jumper to make it a 20-point lead once again, 28-8 with 9:49 to go in the session.
The Phoenix narrowed the deficit in the final 8:46 of the half with an 18-6 run to make it an eight-point game, 34-36, at halftime.
Early in the second stanza, Elon came within six of the Seahawks with 17:55 left after Swoope’s 3-pointer from the corner off a nice find by Santa Ana. A quick 9-2 spark from UNCW created separation from the Phoenix, 48-35, with 15:56 remaining.
Elon continued to fight down the stretch, but the deficit was too much to overcome as UNCW claimed the victory to close out the CAA’s opening weekend of games.
– Elon falls to 5-4 all time in the Division I era after coming off a conference-opening loss. Coach Matheny is now 3-2 all-time in those games.
– The Phoenix made 10 triples on the night. It’s the seventh time this season Elon has made 10 or more threes in a game.
– Brian Dawkins scored in double figures for the sixth straight game and the ninth time in the last 11 games.
– Tyler Seibring led the team in scoring for the fifth time this season and it was his 10th game in double figures.
Elon continues conference play on the road Thursday, Jan. 5, at William & Mary. Tipoff against the Tribe on CAA.TV will be at 7 p.m. inside Kaplan Arena.