ELON, N.C. – Elon University men’s basketball came back from a 16-point deficit in the second half to take a late lead, but Northeastern forced overtime and pulled away in the final five minutes to claim the 81-70 victory on Thursday night, Jan. 10, at Schar Center.
Trailing by as much at 16 points with 17:52 remaining in the second half, Elon fought back to take its first lead of the game, 60-59, with 2:58 to go in regulation. The Phoenix held a 63-61 advantage in the final minute, but a key steal and layup by the Huskies tied the game with 37 seconds left.
Northeastern got a final look at the end of regulation, but Donnell Gresham’s floater rimmed out, sending the game to overtime. The Huskies then opened the overtime period with an 8-0 run and never looked back, outscoring Elon 18-7 in the final five minutes to earn the 81-70 victory.
Tyler Seibring led Elon (5-13, 1-4 CAA) with his ninth-career double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds. Steven Santa Ana posted a game-high 22 points, while Nathan Priddy and Sheldon Eberhardt added 10 points apiece to round out Elon’s four double-figure scorers.
The Huskies (8-8, 2-2 CAA) had five players score in double figures against the Phoenix. Vasa Pusica tallied team-bests of 19 points and seven assists to lead NU. Additionally, Gresham tallied a double-double of 11 points and 10 boards, Anthony Green added 15 points, Shawn Occeus scored 12 and Bolden Brace chipped in 10 points off the bench.
The Huskies opened the game with a 10-4 run, but Seibring’s layup stopped the spurt and sliced Northeastern’s lead to four points at the 15:57 mark. That run would extend to as much as a 14-point advantage over the next nine minutes, 31-17, following Pusica’s jumper in the paint at the 6:09 mark.
However, Elon’s 8-0 run over the next two minutes, which was capped off by Santa Ana’s three-point play at the 4:13 mark, brought the Phoenix within six. After the Phoenix trailed 31-25, the Huskies closed out the half with a 9-3 push to give NU a 40-28 lead at the break.
In the second half, Northeastern responded after Santa Ana’s opening three-pointer with a 7-0 run to take a 47-31 lead, its largest lead of the game of 16 points at the 17:52 mark. Undaunted, Elon surged with 13 unanswered points over the next seven minutes to cut Northeastern’s lead to 47-44 at the 10:57 mark.
After the Huskies retook an eight-point advantage with 10 minutes left in the half, a 7-2 Phoenix run capped off by Eberhardt’s jumper with 6:17 on the clock trimmed NU’s lead to 54-51. Elon continued to chip away and its fight paid off as the Phoenix took its first lead at 60-59 with 2:58 remaining in regulation.
Following Northeastern’s response to retake the lead after Green’s dunk, Elon scored three unanswered in one minute to take a 63-61 lead with 1:09 on the clock. However, a key steal from Gresham and his layup with 37 seconds remaining on the fast break tied the game.
Northeastern got a final look at the end of regulation, but Gresham’s floater rimmed out, sending the game to overtime. The Huskies then opened the overtime period with an 8-0 run and never looked back, outscoring the Phoenix 18-7 during the final five minutes.
– Tyler Seibring tallied his ninth-career double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds against the Huskies. Seibring is now just 18 career-points away from moving into 11th on Elon’s all-time scoring chart.
– Santa Ana scored 20+ points for the fifth time this season with 22 against Northeastern. He has scored 1,196 career points and is now 28th on the program’s all-time scoring list.
– Seibring increased his career rebound total to 680, which is 55 away from the top-10 in program history.
The Phoenix closes out the week hosting the Hofstra Pride on Saturday night, Jan. 12, at 7 p.m. inside Schar Center.