MILWAUKEE – Dmitri Thompson drained a game-tying three-pointer with five seconds remaining in regulation to cap off Elon University men’s basketball’s comeback from a 13-point deficit, and the Phoenix made big shots in overtime to complete a 95-87 triple overtime victory over Florida International on Friday, Nov. 17, at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena to open the Black & Gold Shootout.
“I loved the mindset of our players through the entire game,” said head coach Matt Matheny. “Even when we weren’t playing well, I felt like we had great focus, leadership and togetherness. After some great plays from several guys, our positive mindset was rewarded with an unbelievable three-overtime victory.”
The Phoenix (2-2) had five players finish in double figures, led by Dainan Swoope’s fifth career 20-point game and career-high tying 26 points. Steven Santa Ana finished with 21 points and eight rebounds for his sixth 20-point game of his career.
Brian Dawkins and Tyler Seibring each recorded a double-double for the Phoenix. Dawkins scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Seibring added 10 points and grabbed 10 boards of his own. Sheldon Eberhardt rounded out the double-digit scorers with a career-high 14 points and made the game-tying floater in the second overtime to force a third.
Eric Lockett led FIU (1-2) with a double-double, scoring a team-high 19 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Isaiah Banks added 17 points, Brian Beard Jr. finished with 16 points and Trejon Jacob chipped in 12 points.
The Phoenix took a 13-11 lead at the first media timeout with 13:19 left in the half following a Steven Santa Ana triple. Elon made three triples inside the first seven minutes and was led by five points from Seibring.
FIU took its first lead since the first three minutes of the contest 20-17 at the 10:10 mark after a three, but back-to-back buckets from Dawkins and Seibring put the Phoenix back in front 21-20 with 8:08 left in the half.
The Panthers took its largest lead of the half 38-27 at the 3:20 mark as Beard Jr.’s three-pointer capped off a 15-6 Panthers run over a 4:10 time frame.
Elon ended the half outscoring FIU 12-5 over the final 2:59, including a 6-0 run over the over the final 1:29 and the Panthers held the 43-39 lead at the break.
Florida International started the half with a 9-4 run to take a 55-43 lead at the 14:02 mark capped off by Jacob’s jumper. Elon answered with a 5-0 run and held FIU scoreless for nearly six minutes to cut the Panthers’ lead 55-48 with 7:46 on the clock. FIU would then answer with back-to-back triples to take its largest lead of the game 61-48 with 7:49 left in regulation.
Elon began its comeback with a 15-4 run over the next 7:07 to cut FIU’s lead to 65-63 with 12.9 seconds left on the clock.
Beard Jr. made the front end of two free throws, but missed the second to give the Phoenix another chance. Down three, Swoope tossed the ball to Thompson, who hit the game-tying three-pointer to tie up the score 66-66 with five seconds on the clock. A final heave from the Panthers fell short and the game went to overtime.
The first overtime period was a back-and-forth affair until Swoope hit a pair of free throws to give the Phoenix a 75-74 lead with 11 seconds remaining. Beard Jr. was fouled went to the line again with eight seconds on the clock. He made the first, but missed the second to tie the game at 75 apiece. Brian Dawkins had a last-second layup blocked by Lockett to deny the Phoenix a chance to win in the first overtime.
Both teams were only able to score four points each in the second overtime. After missing a layup with 42 seconds left in the period, Eberhardt redeemed himself by hitting a floater at the buzzer, tying the game 79-79, and sending the game to a third overtime.
Elon opened up a five-point lead 84-79 after Dawkins made a layup and Swoope hit a three-pointer to open the period. FIU brought the score within one, 84-83, after Lockett’s layup with 2:58 remaining. The Phoenix ended the game with a 9-4 run to secure the comeback victory.
– The game against FIU marked Elon’s first triple overtime game since defeating UNCG 112-108 on Feb. 28, 2004.
– Elon has only played two triple overtime games since becoming a Division I program in 1999-00. The Phoenix improves to 2-0 in triple overtime games since becoming a Division I program.
– Dainan Swoope matched his career-high with 26 points against FIU, his fifth 20-point game of his career.
– Sheldon Eberhardt scored a career-high 14 points against the Panthers.
– Tyler Seibring recorded his fourth career double-double, while Brian Dawkins notched the second of his career and second in the last three games.
– The Phoenix improves its overall record to 12-13 in early-season tournaments since Matt Matheny took over as head coach in 2009.
– Elon had two players with double-doubles and two players with 20+ points in the same game for the first time since Feb. 23, 2017 when the Phoenix lost in double overtime 105-104 against Northeastern inside Alumni Gym.
The Phoenix faces Concordia St. Paul in its second game of the Black & Gold Shootout on Saturday afternoon. The game will tip off at 4 p.m. eastern time at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on the Black & Gold Network. You can listen to the game on the Elon IMG Sports Network with the pregame show starting 30 minutes before tip.