NEWARK, Del. – Although Elon University men’s basketball was able to cut a 16-point second-half deficit to eight with 2:55 remaining, its comeback fell short and Delaware earned a 77-65 victory on Saturday night, Jan. 5, at the Bob Carpenter Center.
Steven Santa Ana led all of Elon’s (5-11, 1-3 CAA) scorers with 18 points, as well as adding five rebounds to his stat line. Also among Elon’s four players scoring in double figures were Tyler Seibring with 17 points, Sheldon Eberhardt with 11 off the bench and Nathan Priddy with 10 points. Eberhardt also finished with team-bests of six rebounds and four assists for the Phoenix.
Delaware (11-6, 3-1 CAA) also had four players score in double figures. The Blue Hens were led by Ryan Allen’s game-high 19 points, as well as Eric Carter’s double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds. Additionally, Kevin Anderson and Darian Bryant tallied 11 points each for Delaware. After shooting 42.9 percent in the first half, the Blue Hens got hot and shot a blistering 57.9 percent from the floor in the second half.
Elon led by as much as seven points in the game before Delaware’s run at the end of the first half gave the Blue Hens a 40-32 lead at the break. The Blue Hens then used the momentum to build as much as a 16-point lead in the second half. Although the Phoenix fought back and cut the deficit to 68-60 with 2:55 remaining, the comeback would fall short and Delaware sealed the 77-65 win.
After Delaware started the game off with an 8-2 run, the Phoenix answered with 10 unanswered points to take a 12-8 advantage after Seibring’s three-pointer at the 16:01 mark.
Following another Blue Hens’ spurt, which gave the hosts a 18-14 lead, Elon’s 10-1 surge gave the Phoenix its largest lead of the half at 26-19 with 8:06 on the clock. Eberhardt led the charge with five points during the run, which was capped off by his first three-pointer of the contest.
The Blue Hens took the lead back, 27-26, with a 10-0 run over then next two minutes, but a turnaround jumper by Santa Ana and a layup by Eberhardt put the Phoenix back in front 30-27 with 4:51 remaining in the half. What initially started as a 9-0 run by Delaware extended to a 13-2 spurt over the final minutes, putting the Blue Hens up 40-32 at the break.
The second half started off similar as the first with a run by Delaware. Following Priddy’s triple to open the half, the Blue Hens used a 10-3 run and took a 52-37 lead after Carter’s dunk at the 15:45 mark.
Even though five quick points from the Phoenix cut Delaware’s lead to eight, the Blue Hens would then outscore Elon 10-2 over the next five minutes to build up to a 16-point lead. Delaware would maintain that lead over the next two minutes, with its final lead of 16 coming at 66-50 with 5:48 remaining.
Elon continued to fight and a 9-2 run would slice the deficit to eight at 68-60 with 2:55 left in the game. However, Delaware didn’t allow the Phoenix to get closer than nine points in the final minutes to earn the victory.
The Phoenix returns to Schar Center next week to host two teams predicted to finish in the top-three of CAA play this season. Elon will first host CAA preseason favorite Northeastern on Thursday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m., followed by Hofstra on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 7 p.m.