ELON, N.C. – Tyler Seibring recorded a double-double and Dainan Swoope scored a game-high 21 points as Elon University men’s basketball defeated Drexel 90-75 in its Colonial Athletic Association opener on Saturday, Dec. 30, inside Alumni Gym.
The Phoenix (9-5, 1-0 CAA) had six players score in double figures. Swoope led on the scoring side with 21 points, while also adding five assists and five boards. Seibring posted his sixth-career double-double and his second in consecutive games with 19 points and a team-high 12 rebounds.
Additionally for Elon, Brian Dawkins and Steven Santa Ana added 13 points each, while Dmitri Thompson and Karolis Kundrotas chipped in 11 points apiece.
Elon had a solid shooting afternoon finishing 49.1 percent from the floor and 46.7 percent from three-point range. The Phoenix also converted 20-of-22 attempts at the free throw line. Defensively, Elon held Drexel to 41 percent shooting from the floor, while scoring 20 points off 11 forced turnovers.
Kurk Lee led Drexel (6-8) in scoring with 18 points. Austin Williams flirted with a double-double, finishing with a game-high 14 rebounds and nine points. Alihan Demir added 16 points and eight rebounds, while Troy Harper chipped in 13 points.
“We built off a very good performance and a very good win right before Christmas at Indiana State and I think our players came back from the break with a giddiness and happiness about them, but also a focus,” said head coach Matt Matheny. “I think it’s because of the performance, I think it’s because of the experience that we have on our roster, and I think it’s because conference play is here. Our guys were excited about conference play and I thought we played, offensively in particular, the way we wanted to play and the style we wanted to play. Defensively, we’re not there yet, but we’re close. We’re happy. This is a good start to conference play and we know we have a lot of conference games left.”
After the Phoenix took an early 10-8 lead at the 17:32 mark, Elon used an 18-2 surge over next 4:30 to take a 28-10 lead, which was capped off two threes from Santa Ana and a triple from Seibring.
Drexel sliced Elon’s lead to 10 points, 32-22, with a 12-4 run, which ended with a pair of free throws from Harper. Undaunted, the Phoenix answered with an 11-0 run over the next 2:13 to take a 21-point lead, 43-22, the largest Elon advantage of the contest with 5:05 left in the first half.
The Dragons ended half with a 14-3 run over the final 3:36 to cut Elon’s lead to 46-36 at halftime as Harper and Lee each scored five points during the Drexel run.
Elon opened the second half with a 9-4 run to take a 55-40 lead with 15:18 remaining in the contest following a basket from Kundrotas. The Phoenix would then take its largest lead of the second half 66-51 just five minutes later.
The Phoenix maintained its double-digit lead to most of the second half, until Drexel cut Elon’s lead to nine points, 76-67 following Williams’ free throw with 3:55 remaining.
Seibring responded less than 20 seconds later with a three-pointer to give the Phoenix a 79-67 lead at the 3:37 mark. Elon kept its double-digit advantage for the remainder of the game to earn a 90-75 victory over Drexel in its CAA opener.
– Tyler Seibring recorded his sixth-career double-double and third of the season. Elon improves to 5-1 all-time when Seibring records a double-double.
– Dainan Swoope scored 20+ points for the fifth time this season and first time since Nov. 22 against Radford. Elon is 4-1 this season when Swoope scores 20 or more points.
– Karolis Kundrotas scored a season-high 11 points and matched a career-high with two blocked shots.
– Elon improves to 2-2 in CAA openers and 2-0 in league openers against Drexel. The Phoenix bettered its league-opening mark under head coach Matt Matheny to 4-5 in after the win.
– Dmitri Thompson (948) is 52 points away and Tyler Seibring (947) is within 53 points of reaching 1,000 points for their careers.
The Phoenix hosts Towson on Tuesday, Jan. 2, inside Alumni Gym to continue CAA play. The game begins a tough stretch of three league games in six days for the Phoenix.