Freshman guard Elijah Bryant scored six of the Phoenix’s final eight points as the Elon men’s basketball team edged Kennesaw State University 67-65 on Wednesday, Dec. 22 afternoon.
Bryant led all scorers with 25 points including 4-6 from behind the arc. Senior forward Ryan Winters also finished in double figures with 12 points and six rebounds. Bryant hit a three-pointer with :44 seconds remaining to give the Phoenix a 64-62 lead. Free throws from sophomore forward Christian Hairston and Bryant canceled out a three from junior forward Nigel Pruitt allowing the Phoenix to hold on to a two-point win.
The lead changed seven times down the stretch with Elon holding out in the final seconds. No team led by more than six in the final 15 minutes of the game.
After playing catchup early in the second half, Elon tied the game at 47 with 11:56 remaining off of one of Samson’s three three-pointers. The game would be tied again at 51 and 53 and 57, respectively.
Kennesaw State would take their final three of the game when a jumper from junior forward Orlando Coleman made the game 62-61 with 1:00 remaining, before setting up Bryant’s three inside the final minute.
Kennesaw State started the game on a 10-0 run prompting a timeout from Elon head coach Matt Matheny. Elon then cut the lead to five thanks to a layup from senior point guard Kevin Blake and a three from Samson to cut the deficit in half, but Elon continued to trail for the duration of the first half.
Trailing by as many as 15 early, Elon managed to cut the deficit to 31-28 after another Samson three at the 4:49 mark.
A three from freshman guard Elijah Brant made it 35-31 Kennesaw State with 3:27 remaining in the half. Then, the Owls went on a 6-0 spurt to close out the half and went into the locker room with a 9-point lead.
Elon has now won its second straight game on the road having beaten the University of North Carolina at Greensboro on Sunday, Dec. 20. The two wins mean the Phoenix closed out its four-game road trip with a record of 2-2.
Elon will wrap up 2014, as well as non-conference play, when they host Marist University on Sunday, Dec. 28 at 2 p.m.