ELON, N.C. – Elon University men’s basketball will advance to the championship game of the CAA Tournament for the first time in program history after defeating Hofstra, 76-58, in the semifinals on Monday, March 8.
“I just believe in our group,” head coach Mike Schrage began. “We’ve really been able to get into a rhythm lately. You know, Ikenna just got done talking and it just brings to mind the job he’s done on Jalen Ray and on Vado Morse the past couple of games. His growth has had a lot to do with our growth as a team on the defensive end of the floor. Overall, I’m just really proud of all our guys.”
– Elon opened the second half on fire, going on a 10-0 run in the first five minutes after the break. After falling behind 39-33, back-to-back buckets by Ikenna Ndugba and Darius Burford cut the deficit to two. Burford followed that up by scoring Elon’s next six points to help the Phoenix go up 43-39 with just over 15 minutes to play.
– Hofstra cut its deficit back down to one before Simon Wright drilled two straight threes to push Elon’s lead back to seven. Ndugba capped a quick 9-0 Phoenix run with a three of his own to bring the score to 52-42 with 13:27 left to play in the game.
– Late in the second half with Elon leading by five, Hunter Woods scored five quick points to give the Phoenix a 10-point advantage. After a tough finish by Burford at the rim, Woods effectively put the game out of reach with his mid-range jumper that gave Elon a 71-57 advantage with less than four minutes remaining.
– The first half was a back-and-forth battle for both teams, with 10 lead changes, and five ties. Elon lead for just over nine minutes in the opening half, but entered the break trailing 34-33.
– Darius Burford led the way for Elon, dropping 19 points on 8-of 16 shooting. Burford also added a career-high six assists and four rebounds on the night.
– Ikenna Ndugba chipped in 14 points, a game-high 10 rebounds and three assists for the Phoenix. Ndugba’s double-double is the first for Elon this season.
– Hunter Woods finished with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor, grabbing seven rebounds along the way.
– Simon Wright logged 10 points and six rebounds in just under 22 minutes of action, while Hunter McIntosh posted 10 points, four assists and three rebounds in the win.
– Chuck Hannah dropped seven points and a career-high nine rebounds, including a late three to cap the win for the Phoenix.
– Elon held a 48-28 advantage on the glass, a 21-3 advantage in second chance points and a 16-2 advantage in bench points.
– The Phoenix led by as much as 18 and for 25:12 of game time.
– Elon outscored Hofstra 43-24 in the second half, hold the Pride to 29.2% shooting from the field.
– Elon’s win advances them to the CAA Championship game for the first time in program history.
– This marks the first time that an eight-seed has advanced to the CAA Championship in league history. Elon also became the first eight-seed to defeat a No. 1 seed in the CAA Tournament with its win against JMU last night.
– The Phoenix is currently on a season best seven-game winning streak.
Elon returns to action tomorrow night for a 7 p.m. matchup with sixth-seeded Drexel in the Championship game of the CAA Tournament. The game will be broadcasted live on CBS Sports Network.