Elon MBB Edges Manhattan 62-56 in Season Opener

RIVERDALE, N.Y. – Tyler Seibring posted game-highs of 17 points and eight rebounds, and Elon University men’s basketball opened its 2018-19 campaign on Tuesday, Nov. 6, with a 62-56 victory over Manhattan College inside of Draddy Gymnasium.


Elon (1-0) had three players finish in double figures against the Jaspers. In addition to Seibring’s 17 points, Dainan Swoope added 14 points and Steven Santa Ana chipped in 12 for the Phoenix. Seibring grabbed a game-high tying eight rebounds and Sheldon Eberhardt led the team with five assists.

“We are thrilled to get the win,” said head coach Matt Matheny. “I felt like the toughness shown from our guys on both ends of the court tonight helped us pull it out. We knew it would be a chaotic game against Manhattan who likes to play a chaotic style, and I thought our guys were aggressive offensively for 40 minutes. As a result, we turned the ball over a lot, but I thought most of our turnovers were mistakes of aggression and I think we got just enough stops to pull out the victory.”

The Jaspers (0-1) were led on the scoring end by Nehemiah Mack and Thomas Capuano, who each scored 10 points. Capuano tied Seibring with a game-high eight rebounds and led Manhattan with a team-best four assists.

Elon got off to a hot start as Seibring scored seven unanswered points to open the contest. The Phoenix then extended the run to 11-3 as it ended with a double-clutch layup by Kris Wooten at the 13:34 mark.

Although Manhattan cut into the lead with a 5-0 run, Elon responded with a 15-3 burst and the Phoenix took a 26-11 lead after Swoope’s three with 3:09 left in the half. The Jaspers then sliced Elon’s advantage to 32-21 at the half outscoring the Phoenix 10-6 in the final three minutes.

Seibring hit a three-pointer at the 17:41 mark in the second half to put Elon ahead 37-23, but Manhattan responded and cut the Phoenix’s lead to seven points 41-34 with 12:16 on the clock.

After a Swoope triple helped Elon regain an 11-point lead at 47-36, the Jaspers kept fighting with a 6-0 run and sliced Elon’s lead to 47-42 with six minutes to go. Seibring made another important basket down the stretch hitting a three on the next scoring play to extend the maroon and gold’s lead to 50-42.

However, Manhattan cut Elon’s lead to just three points three times over a two-minute span, with the latest coming at 54-51 with 1:50 on the clock following Warren Williams’ layup.
Seibring came through again with a fadeaway jumper with 58 seconds remaining and Eberhardt came up with a big steal and fast break finish to put the Phoenix at a 58-51 advantage. The Jaspers only got within four points of Elon over the final seconds and the Phoenix held on for the victory.

– Elon improves to 6-1 overall in its last seven season openers with the win over Manhattan. The Phoenix improves to 8-2 in season openers under head coach Matt Matheny.
– The Phoenix improves to 5-5 all-time against members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) with the win.
– The contest was the first meeting between the two schools with Elon getting its first win over Manhattan.
– Tyler Seibring scored in double figures for the 69th time in his career. Dainan Swoope did so for the 58th time and Steven Santa Ana achieved the mark for the 48th time.
– Santa Ana scored 12 points against the Jaspers and has now scored 925 points for his career. He is just 75 away from reaching the 1,000-point mark.

The Phoenix hosts its inaugural men’s basketball game inside the brand new Schar Center on Friday, Nov. 9, against the North Carolina Tar Heels. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and will be aired nationally on ESPNU.