Elon MBB Falls to Delaware in First Round of CAA Championships

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – Elon University men’s basketball’s season came to a close on Saturday, March 3, with an 86-79 loss to Delaware in the first round of the CAA Championships inside North Charleston Coliseum.

Dmitri Thompson led the Phoenix (14-18, 6-12 CAA) with a career-high 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting and added eight rebounds. Steven Santa Ana and Tyler Seibring each added 15 points, while Seibring also grabbed a team-best nine boards. Karolis Kundrotas provided some solid minutes off the bench scoring a season-high tying 11 points for the Phoenix. Dainan Swoope added a career-high nine assists for Elon.

“We’re disappointed,” said head coach Matt Matheny. “I was very pleased with the way our players started the game. I thought our preparation leading into the game and the way we started symbolized the great mindset, and then a variety of things happened. The biggest issue we had throughout the game was the inability to get consecutive stops. Regardless of the defense we played, we couldn’t get two or three stops in a row to build a run. We made a few adjustments at halftime and I thought our players were very, very good at their execution. So, we made a run offensively, but we didn’t get enough stops. I thought our guys played their hearts off down the stretch and tried to battle to get back in it, but we came up short.”

Delaware (14-18, 6-12 CAA) was paced by Eric Carter’s double-double, as he finished with 20 points and a team-best 11 rebounds. Ryan Daly scored a team-best 23 points, CAA Rookie of the Year Ryan Allen added 14, and Anthony Mosley scored 13 points for the Blue Hens.

Elon fought its way back into the contest after trailing by 11 points at halftime, shooting 56.3 percent in the second half and cutting Delaware’s lead to 3 points twice in the half. The Blue Hens were successful in large part to its 57 percent shooting from the floor. Delaware also committed just six turnovers against the Phoenix.

The Phoenix got the game off to a good start with a 10-2 run over the first 5:02, which was capped off by Kundrotas’ layup. Delaware answered with a 13-3 surge over the next 4:01, which was ended on Daly’s layup through contact at 10:43, and the Blue Hens took a 15-13 lead.

Following Seibring’s game-tying jumper, Delaware made another run of 9-0 to extend its lead to 24-15 after Carter made a hook shot. Kundrotas’ three-pointer helped Elon start to chip into the Blue Hens’ lead as the Phoenix would cut the deficit to five points, 29-24, after Thompson’s driving layup at the 4:40 mark.

Elon kept within striking distance until Delaware close out the half with a 9-2 run over the final 3:03 to take a 41-30 halftime lead. Part of the Blue Hens’ first-half success came from its 55.6 percent shooting in the period.

After both teams traded each of its first two baskets to open the half, the Phoenix used a 7-0 run over a 1:11 span as Seibring’s three-pointer at the 17:09 mark brought Elon within five, 46-41. The maroon and gold would cut Delaware’s lead to three point twice over the next 2:12, but the Blue Hens stretched its lead to 60-52 at the under-12 media with 11:21 on the clock.

Delaware’s 9-4 run over the next 3:36 gave the Blue Hens to its largest lead of the contest, 69-56, but the Phoenix was able to cut the deficit to as little as 10 pointes, 74-64, with 2:44 remaining following Thompson’s jumper.

Following two free throws from Mosley, Elon mounted a 10-3 spurt to cut Delaware’s lead to 79-74 with 1:21 remaining after Thompson’s three-pointer. Mosley made a free throw and Allen drove in for a layup to put Delaware back up by eight, but Thompson’s triple cut the Blue Hens’ lead to 82-77.

Elon missed some shots, attempting to slice into the deficit over the final minute, and Delaware made its free throws down the stretch to seal the 86-79 victory.

– Dmitri Thompson scored a career-high 27 points in his final game in maroon and gold. He finishes with 1,193 career points, which ranks 28th on Elon’s all-time scoring list.
– Tyler Seibring is now in sole possession of 20th on the program’s all-time scoring list. He now has 1,267 career points and is 28 points away from Ed Juratic ’57, who is 19th all-time with 1,295 points.
– Seibring extended his double-digit scoring streak to 20 consecutive games. He scored in double-figures in 29 of the team’s 32 games this season.
– Dainan Swoope set a new career-high with nine assists against the Blue Hens.
– Elon falls to 1-4 in CAA tournament games with the loss and is 13-17 overall in conference tournament games since the program joined the NCAA Division I ranks in 1999-00.
– Steven Santa Ana is now less than 100 points away from joining the 1,000-point club. With his 15 points tonight, he is now just 87 points away with 913 career points.