ELON, N.C. – Elon University men’s basketball battled back from a 15-point second half deficit to defeat top-seeded James Madison, 72-71, in the Quarterfinals of the 2021 CAA Tournament on Sunday, March 7.
“Just proud of our guys,” head coach Mike Schrage began. “We have a resilient bunch that’s always going to keep fighting. In the huddle you couldn’t even tell we were down – we always believed we could come back and make a run and put some pressure on them. Today really became a player’s game. Once we went with Simon at the five, it really opened up our offense and opened up the floor and allowed us to just penetrate and kick. Couple that with our defense which has stayed pretty consistent this year and it really put some pressure on them.”
– With the Dukes lead sitting at 66-63 with just over a minute remaining in the contest, Hunter McIntosh drove to the lane and finished through the contact to bring Elon within a point. After JMU received a technical foul on the play, McIntosh stepped to the line and drained all three of his free throws to give Elon a two-point advantage with 1:13 left to play. Moments later, JMU retied the game at 68 before Ikenna Ndugba blew past his defender for an easy layup that gave Elon a 70-68 lead late. McIntosh iced the win at the free-throw line, knocking down both of his attempts from the charity stripe with five seconds on the clock.
– McIntosh and Ndugba got things rolling for Elon, knocking down back-to-back threes to give the Phoenix a 6-2 lead early in the game. After JMU fought back to tie the game at six, Simon Wright drilled a rare and-one three to put Elon back on top by four.
– JMU got hot from there and went on an 11-0 run of its own to take a 17-10 lead with just over 12 minutes to play in the opening half. The Dukes would lead by as much as 11 before Elon battled back to cut the deficit to five late in the first half.
– Despite Elon’s late surge, JMU entered the break with a 39-29 lead.
– JMU’s lead swelled to as much as 15 in the second half before the Phoenix took the game over. With the Phoenix trailing with 12:26 to play in the game, two quick points by Ndugba followed by a Hunter Woods three cut the deficit to eight. After a made free throw by JMU extended their lead back to nine, Hunter McIntosh used a spin move to create space before getting a tough lefty layup to fall. Ikenna Ndugba followed that up with a smooth step-back jumper to cut the deficit down to five.
– With Elon down by eight with 8:15 to play in the contest, Simon Wright scored six-straight points to bring the Phoenix within two. A few moments later, Wright hit another triple to bring the score to 64-63 JMU with just under five minutes to play.
– Hunter McIntosh led the way for Elon, posting 24 points to lead all scorers, adding a career-high nine rebounds in 38 minutes of action.
– Simon Wright added a career-high 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc.
– Ikenna Ndugba chipped in 14 points, six rebounds, and a team-high six assists in the win.
– Hunter Woods and Darius Burford combined for 16 points, 13 rebounds and four assists on the day.
– Elon’s win advances them to the CAA Semifinals for the second consecutive year for the first time since joining the CAA.
– The Phoenix is currently on a season best six-game winning streak.
The Phoenix will return to action tomorrow evening for a 6 p.m. matchup with fourth-seeded Hofstra in the Semifinals of the CAA Tournament. That game will be broadcasted live on CBS Sports Network.