Elon MBB Falls to No. 1 Duke, 97-68, in Season Opener

DURHAM, N.C. – Elon University men’s basketball fell to the No. 1-ranked Duke Blue Devils 97-68 in its season opener on Friday, Nov. 10, inside Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Phoenix had three players finish in double figures. Dmitri Thompson led the way with team-highs of 13 points and five boards. Tyler Seibring and Dainan Swoope also scored in double figures adding 11 point apiece. Seibring also dished out a team-high four assists on the night. Elon got some scoring production off the bench as well from Seth Fuller (8), Sheldon Eberhardt (7) and Karolis Kundrotas.

Duke also had three players post double-figure nights and were led by Marvin Bagley III’s double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds. Grayson Allen added 22 points and Gary Trent Jr. added 17 of his own.

The Phoenix struggled to hit shots early in the game and was held to 40 percent shooting from the floor in the contest, including 42 percent from three-point range.

After Allen’s triple got things started for the Blue Devils, Seibring answered with a three-pointer from the right corner to knot up the score. Duke responded with a 17-0 run to take a 20-3 lead with just over 13 minutes remaining in the half.

Elon answered with a quick 5-0 run after a pair of free throws from Swoope and a three-pointer from Kundrotas to cut Duke’s lead 20-8 with 12:50 on the clock. The Phoenix continued to slice away at Duke’s lead as Swoope’s made triple at the 10:04 mark narrowed the Blue Devils’ lead to 10 points, 24-14.

Duke would outscore the Phoenix 21-11 for the last 10 minutes of the half to take a 45-25 lead at the break behind 19 points from Allen.

For the first six minutes of the second half, both teams traded buckets and Seibring’s three-pointer at the 14:32 mark cut Duke’s lead to 59-36. The Blue Devils made a 12-5 run over the next four minutes to take a 30-point lead, 71-41, ending with Trevon Duval’s jumper with 10:25 left in the half.

Baskets from Thompson, Eberhardt, as well as a three from Swoope paced a 7-2 Phoenix run to make the score 73-48 with 8:47 remaining.

Undaunted, the No. 1-ranked Blue Devils mounted a 16-6 run in response over the next 3:01 capped off by Javin DeLaurier’s dunk to give Duke its largest lead of the 89-54 lead at the 5:17 mark. Duke would continue its hot shooting down the stretch to earn the season-opening win against the Phoenix.

– Duke shot 55 percent from the floor — 71 percent while pulling away in the second half — and held the Phoenix to less than 40 percent shooting during the contest.
– Elon has had three or more players finish in double figures in eight straight games dating back to last season. The Phoenix was last held to under three players in double figures on Feb. 4 at College of Charleston.
– The Phoenix had its four-game season-opener win streak snapped against the Blue Devils. The last time Elon lost its season opener was on Nov. 10, 2012 in a 59-74 loss at Butler.
– This was Elon’s first matchup against Duke in a season opener in the program’s Division I era since 1999. It was the first time Elon has opened a season against Duke since the 1935-36 campaign.

The Phoenix begins its final season in Alumni Gym tomorrow night hosting the William Peace Pacers in its home opener. The game will tip off at 7 p.m.