CHARLESTON, S.C. – Elon University men’s basketball fell to league-leading College of Charleston, 79-58, in its final road game of the regular season on Thursday night, Feb. 22, at TD Arena.
Despite Elon’s strong defensive performance in the first half, College of Charleston had a 29-18 advantage at the break. The Phoenix held the Cougars to just 30.3 percent shooting from the floor in the first half. Elon fought its way back into the contest, cutting the Cougars’ lead to five points 35-30 with just over 13 minutes to play. But Charleston’s hot shooting of 53.6 percent from the floor and 55.6 percent from three in the second half propelled the Cougars to victory.
The Phoenix (14-15, 6-10 CAA) had three players finish in double figures. Dmitri Thompson led the way with 16 points, while Tyler Seibring added 15 points and six rebounds. Brian Dawkins scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor in his return. Steven Santa Ana grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and Seth Fuller has a team-best three assists.
College of Charleston (23-6, 14-3 CAA) was led by the performances of Grant Riller and Joe Chealey. Riller finished with a game-high 30 points and made six three-pointers for the Cougars. Both players also finished with a team-best four assists.
“We played a little bit better in stretches tonight,” said head coach Matt Matheny. “I thought the first half was one of our better performances defensively in the last few weeks. I thought in the second half we finally got into a little bit of a rhythm offensively and knocked down some shots. We want to build on this. We want to get some momentum as we look towards the conference tournament next week and I think we can build on some of the things we did tonight.”
Charleston hit three shots from deep in the first six and a half minutes of the contest to take an 11-2 advantage at the 13:26 mark. The Cougars extended its lead to 14-2 after Cameron Johnson’s three, but Dawkins and Seibring hit back-to-back triples to cut Charleston’s lead to 14-8 with just over 10 minutes left in the half.
Brantley made a layup just a minute later to put the Cougars up by eight, but Thompson and Seibring made jumpers and with 5:13 on the clock, Charleston’s lead was cut to 16-12. Jaylen McManus came down the floor and drained a three from the top of the arc, but Seibring responded with a jumper at the other end to cut Charleston’s lead to five.
The Cougars mounted a 7-0 run over the next 48 seconds to take 26-14 lead after two free throws from Riller with 2:09 on the clock. Dawkins made two layups over the final two minutes, cutting Charleston’s lead to 29-18 at the break.
Dawkins scored the first points of the half with a layup, but Charleston pushed its lead back to double digits 35-22 at the 17:18 mark following Riller’s layup. The Phoenix fought back using an 8-0 run capped off by Santa Ana’s tough layup at 13:44 to cut the Cougar’s lead to 35-30.
CofC punched back with an 11-0 run over the next two minutes retake a double-digit lead, 46-30, after Chealey made two free throws with 10:59 on the clock. The Cougers maintained its lead over the final 10 minutes, not allowing the Phoenix within single digits the remainder of the contest.
Charleston took as much as a 25-point lead with 5:43 left in the contest and carried the momentum into the rest of the game taking the 79-58 victory.
– Tyler Seibring moved to 23rd on the program’s all-time scoring list with 15 points against Charleston. He now has 1,225 career points and is nine away from 22nd all-time and Chris Long ’11 (1,234).
– Dainan Swoope moved into 37th on the all-time scoring list at 1,039 points and Dmitri Thompson is now 30th all-time with 1,140 points.
– Brian Dawkins scored 12 points in his return from injury, shooting 5-of-7 from the floor.
– Seibring extended his double-digit scoring streak to 17 consecutive games with 15 against College of Charleston. He has scored in double-figures in 26 of the team’s 29 games this season.
– College of Charleston improves to 19-7 all-time against the Phoenix and claimed the No. 1 seed in the CAA Championships and at least a share of the regular season title with the win.
The Phoenix returns home for its final two home games of the regular season and its final two games inside historic Alumni Gym. Elon will celebrate the final season in Alumni Gym as well as Senior Night on Saturday, Feb. 24, against Northeastern at 7 p.m.