WILMINGTON, N.C. – Tyler Seibring scored a career-high 32 points and tallied 21 in the second half to lead Elon University men’s basketball to an 89-82 victory at UNCW on Saturday, Jan. 26, inside Trask Coliseum.
With the victory, the Phoenix (7-15, 3-6 CAA) earns its first-ever win inside Trask Coliseum and its first win in Wilmington, N.C. in 43 years. The last time Elon earned a win at UNCW prior to Saturday’s victory was on Jan. 24, 1976 inside Hanover Hall.
Seibring’s registered a career-best 32 points on 12-of-16 shooting overall, which included 5-of-7 from three-point range and grabbed seven rebounds. He scored 21 of his 32 points in the second half to lift Elon to victory. Additionally, Steven Santa Ana added 24 points and a team-best eight boards. Kris Wooten and Nathan Priddy also combined to score 26 points tallying 13 points apiece. Priddy also added a career-high seven assists for the Phoenix in his 16th start of the season.
UNCW (8-14, 4-5 CAA) had four players score in double figures against the Phoenix. The Seahawks were led by Devontae Cacok’s double-double of 20 points and 19 rebounds. Ty Gladsden tallied a team-best 22 points and Kai Toews also tallied a double-double with 13 points and 12 assists. Jay Estime was the final player to score in double figures with 10 for UNCW.
The Phoenix used a strong first half to jump out to as much as a 19-point lead at 41-22. After Elon led 41-28 at halftime, the Phoenix would take as much as a 17-point advantage in the second half with 10:48 remaining before UNCW began to fight back. The Seahawks trimmed the maroon and gold’s lead to as little as four at 78-74 with 1:33 to go, but Elon’s clutch shots and defensive stops down the stretch led the Phoenix to the 89-82 victory.
“We are thrilled to come into a place that is difficult to play in and walk away with a victory,” said head coach Matt Matheny. “The first half was one of the better halves we’ve played, particularly defensively, but I thought we did some good things in the second half. We’re an improving team, we’re a young team, this environment has always been tough to play in, and I thought we battled through some tough times to finish the game off and get the victory.”
Elon’s strong first half began with a 6-0 run in the first two minutes thanks to back-to-back three-pointers from Santa Ana. UNCW answered with a 7-0 run to take its only lead of the half 7-6 after Estime made a triple at the 16:22 mark. Both teams would trade baskets over the next few minutes, but the Phoenix would start its run at 14:34 after UNCW cut Elon’s lead to 13-12.
Five straight points from Seibring would begin a 12-0 run until the 12:01 mark and Elon pushed its lead to 25-12. UNCW would cut Elon’s lead down to 10 at 29-19 with 7:54 on the clock. However, the Phoenix responded with an 8-0 spurt capped off by Andy Pack’s three-point play to put Elon up 37-19 with 5:54 left in the half.
The Phoenix would go up by as much as 19 points after Seibring’s jumper at the 2:52 mark made it a 41-22 score. However, UNCW closed out the half with a 6-0 run on two three-pointers, cutting Elon’s lead to 41-28 at the break.
In the second half, Wooten answered UNCW’s opening basket to put the Phoenix up 44-30. The Seahawks then used an 8-3 run to cut Elon’s lead to 47-38 with 16:52 on the clock, but the Phoenix then jumped out to a 15-point advantage, 58-43, after Wooten’s layup at the 14:26 mark.
UNCW then began to chip away at the deficit and sliced Elon’s lead to eight, 74-66, after Cacok’s hook shot at the 5:08 mark. But Seibring answered with another three-pointer to put the Phoenix back up by 11 points. After Seibring’s four-point play at the 4:09 mark gave the Phoenix a 78-66 lead, UNCW’s 8-0 run over the next three minutes trimmed Elon’s lead to 78-74 with 1:33 remaining.
Seibring would come up in the clutch once again hitting a contested fadeaway shot at the 1:09 mark to give Elon a 80-74 cushion. Once the Phoenix stretched its lead to nine points at 86-77 with 28 seconds left, Elon would continue to make free throws the rest of the way to earn the seven-point victory.
– Tyler Seibring tallied a career-high 32 points against UNCW and has moved into 8th on the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,650 career points. He now has the most points ever by an Elon player during the program’s NCAA Division I era since 1999-00.
– Santa Ana extends his double-digit scoring streak to 17 straight games with 24 points against UNCW. He has now notched six 20+ point games this season.
– Seibring increased his career rebound total to 704, which is 31 away from the top-10 in program history.
– Elon cuts UNCW’s lead to 10-9 overall in the all-time series with the victory. The Phoenix earned its first-ever victory inside Trask Coliseum and first win at UNCW in 43 years. Elon’s last win at UNCW prior to Saturday was on Jan. 24, 1976 inside Hanover Hall.
– The Phoenix held UNCW to just 31.4 percent (11-35) shooting overall and 20 percent (4-20) from three in the first half to jump out to a 19-point lead.
– Elon would only allow the highest scoring offense in the CAA to shoot 41.2 percent (28-68) from the floor and 25.6 percent (10-39) from deep for the game.
The Phoenix returns to Schar Center for a two-game homestand next week. Elon will first face Delaware on Thursday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m., followed by Drexel on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m.