Northeastern Pulls Away Late to Defeat Elon MBB

ELON, N.C. – Elon University men’s basketball fell to the Northeastern Huskies, 81-59, on Saturday night, Feb. 24, inside Alumni Gym.

Before the game, the Phoenix honored its five-member senior class of Jack Anton, Brian Dawkins, Jack George, Collin Luther and Dmitri Thompson. Elon Athletics also honored Alumni Gym recognizing each of the seven decades of the building’s existence to celebrate the final season.

Dawkins led Elon (14-16, 6-11 CAA) on the scoring end with a team-best 13 points. Tyler Seibring added 12 points, while Thompson and Steven Santa Ana each scored 10 for the Phoenix. Thompson finished with a team-high seven rebounds and Dainan Swoope dished out four assists.

Northeastern (21-9, 14-4 CAA) was paced by Vasa Pusica, who finished with a game-high 31 points. Shawn Occeus chipped in 13 points, while Donnell Gresham and Bolden Brace added 11 each for the Huskies. With the victory and College of Charleston’s loss on Saturday afternoon, Northeastern wins a share of the CAA Regular Season title.

“Over these last two games, I feel like we’ve starting to get some traction, but it didn’t help that we played two really good teams,” said head coach Matt Matheny. “I thought our guys competed, but at the end of the first half going from a two-point game to an 11-point game was a shot to the gut. But I thought we came back out and really fought our way back, cutting their lead to three. We changed some defenses, which I thought we had some success with, but we just don’t have enough rhythm and traction offensively to counteract that. There were too many empty possessions and then [the game] got away from us late.”

The Phoenix trailed for the opening part of the contest, but remained close until it took its first lead 18-17 at the 8:15 mark on Santa Ana’s layup. NU pulled out to as much as a seven-point advantage over the next five minutes, but Santa Ana’s free throws with 1:33 to go in the half put Elon with five points, 33-28.

Northeastern used a late run to close the half, mounting an 11-2 spurt in two minutes, which was capped off by eight unanswered points in the last 1:23 to take a 41-28 lead at the break.

After the Huskies maintained a double-digit lead for the first three minutes of the half, the Phoenix began to claw back as Dawkins drained a three at the 16:03 mark to start the run. An 8-0 Elon spurt grew into an 11-2 surge and Seibring’s triple cut Northeastern’s lead to 50-47 with 12:06 left in the half.

NU responded with a run to give the Huskies a 66-53 lead at 5:46, as six unanswered points from Pusica to end the run forced the Phoenix to call a timeout. Seibring hit a jumper to pull Elon within 11, but Northeastern’s 15-4 run over the final minutes put the game out of reach and the Huskies claimed the 81-59 victory.

– Tyler Seibring moved into a tie for 21st on the program’s all-time scoring list with 12 points against Northeastern. He now has 1,237 career points, which is tied with Tom McGee ’70 for 21st and is 22 points away from Drew Spradlin ’12, who is 20th all-time with 1,259 points.
– Dmitri Thompson is now 29th all-time with 1,150 career points.
– Seibring extended his double-digit scoring streak to 18 consecutive games with 12 against the Huskies. He has scored in double-figures in 27 of the team’s 30 games this season.

The Phoenix closes the regular season with its final game inside of Alumni Gym on Monday, Feb. 26, against James Madison at 7 p.m.