ELON, N.C. – Elon University men’s basketball pulled off another thrilling victory on Saturday night, Dec. 2, as the Phoenix defeated Saint Peter’s in double overtime, 71-65, inside Alumni Gym. After the Peacocks came back late to force a first and second overtime, Elon outscored Saint Peter’s 10-4 in the final overtime period to clinch the victory.
BOX SCORE (PDF) | HIGHLIGHTS
Tyler Seibring scored a season-high 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Phoenix. Brian Dawkins added 21 points and Dainan Swoope chipped in 17 of his own for Elon. Dmitri Thompson was a force on the boards, leading the team with 10 rebounds. Sheldon Eberhardt dished out a career-high 10 assists and chipped in six points playing 38 minutes off the bench.
“We are thrilled with the victory and it was a great way for us to experience a win where we did not shoot the ball well,” said head coach Matt Matheny “I thought [Saint Peter’s] really defended us well and we had to make a play that leads to a play, that leads to a play, to score because they took away a lot of our actions. It was almost like a conference game, in terms of not getting the looks that we want. So for us to shoot 37 percent and to only make five threes is a different way for us to win and a lot of credit goes to our defense. I thought in overtime we let them score too easily and quickly, and we made some mistakes, but we won. Great victory and we get to smile when we learn from this.”
Saint Peter’s had four players finish in double figures, led by Quinn Taylor’s double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds. Davauhnte Turner added 14 points and eight rebounds, while Nick Griffin and Elijah Gonzales scored 11 points each.
Saint Peter’s opened the game on a 13-1 run over the first 5:52 of the contest, forcing the Phoenix to call a timeout. The Peacocks did not allow a field goal for the first eight minutes of the contest.
Elon responded with a quick 8-0 run, which extended into an 11-2 run over the next three minutes to cut Saint Peter’s lead to three, 15-12, at the 8:22 mark following a Seibring three-pointer.
The Phoenix closed the half outscoring Saint Peter’s 14-8 and Dawkins’ three-point play in the final seconds gave the Phoenix a 26-23 lead at the break. Elon made four of its last five baskets to end the half and limited the Peacocks to just 2-of-13 from three in the first stanza.
Saint Peter’s opened the first 5:37 of the second half with a 13-0 run to take a 36-26 lead, which was capped off by back-to-back triples from Gonzales. Elon answered with a 17-3 run over the following eight minutes to regain a 43-39 advantage with 5:26 remaining after two Swoope free throws.
The Peacocks cut the Elon lead to one, 45-44, at the 3:38 mark, and took at 50-49 lead with just 1:46 remaining in regulation after Griffin hit two at the free throw line. Dawkins made a clutch three-pointer with 26.1 seconds left on the clock to give the Phoenix a 52-50 lead, but Taylor made a quick layup for Saint Peter’s to tie the score 52-52. Despite committing a turnover with 2.4 seconds on the clock, Dawkins defended well on the final play, forcing Samuel Idowu to miss his jumper, which sent the game to overtime.
Elon got off to a great start in overtime going on an 8-3 run to take a 60-55 lead. Saint Peter’s battled back to make it a one-point game, 60-59, with 15 seconds left. After Seibring made a free throw, Taylor drew a foul for the Peacocks and made both free throws with seven ticks on the clock. Swoope missed a layup at the other end, and the game went to a second overtime.
Although Saint Peter’s would make the first bucket of the final overtime period, Elon closed the game with a 10-2 run over the final four minutes, and only allowed the Peacocks to go 1-of-4 from the field to secure the 71-65 victory.
– Elon finishes undefeated at home during non-conference play for the first time in the program’s Division I era, which began in the 1999-2000 season.
– The Phoenix has now played back-to-back overtime games for the first time since the 2003-04 season, when Elon lost 83-80 at Georgia Southern on Feb. 23, 2004 and then followed with a 112-108 triple overtime victory on Feb. 28, 2004 against UNCG inside Alumni Gym.
– Elon limited Saint Peter’s to 32 percent shooting from the floor, the lowest field goal percentage the Phoenix has allowed this season and nearly 11 percentage points lower than the Peacock’s season average.
– Saint Peter’s was only able to manage to make 20 percent of its three-pointers in the contest, an opponent low for Elon this year.
– Elon had a player score 20+ points for the sixth consecutive contest. At least one Phoenix player has scored 20 or more points in a game since Nov. 17. Tonight, Tyler Seibring scored 23 and Brian Dawkins finished with 21.
The Phoenix begins a four-game road swing on Thursday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m. against Triad rival UNCG inside Greensboro Coliseum. The game will be aired on ESPN3. You can listen to the action on the Elon IMG Sports Network.