The Elon University men’s basketball team nearly had a record setting night, but not one to be proud of. In its game against Towson University, Elon scored the lowest number of points (17) in the first half since Jan. 28, 2010 when it scored a mere 16.
From the start of the contest, clearly neither team had their best “stuff” working. Elon hit two of its first nine shots and Towson only knocked down one of its first twelve. However, a 4:16 minute, 10-0 run by Towson swung the momentum in its favor. As Towson’s offense had a surge of energy Elon finished the half shooting only 20.8 percent from the field.
“Towson’s defense made it very difficult for us to get good looks,” head coach Matt Matheny stated, “They contested our jumpers, so we shot a low percentage.”
Regardless of a lacking first half performance, the Phoenix came out of the locker room with a resurgence of energy.
To open the half, senior guard Austin Hamilton drove to the hoop, converted the bucket and drew a foul for the three-point play. Following the foul shot, the Elon defense caused a Towson turnover that junior forward Tanner Samson turned into three points.
Gaining the momentum early, Elon controlled the tempo of the game and the lead for the majority of the half. Nevertheless, Elon never took advantage of the momentum and didn’t do enough to push away.
After a missed layup by freshman guard Elijah Bryant, Towson’s Mike Morsell converted a bucket giving the Tigers a 53-51 lead with 1.6 seconds remaining.
Elon took a timeout to draw up the final play.
Elon’s freshman forward Jack Anton threw a nearly full-court pass to Elijah Bryant who shot up the buzzer beater three point shot for the win. It was short.
Afterwards, Bryant stated, “We got the shot we wanted…but it was a little bit short.”
The lack of scoring was not the only struggle that Elon faced during the game. Towson was able to manhandle Elon players by locking down the paint. In fact, 32 of its points came from the paint and the Tigers pulled down 23 offensive rebounds, which led to 19 second chance points.
Perhaps one of the causes of Towson’s domination of the key was due to Elon’s lack of production from their “big men.” Senior forward Ryan Winters only played for four minutes due to a sore back and junior forward Tony Sabato had zero rebounds. This caused the Phoenix to go with smaller lineups that could not handle the size of Towson.
“It just came down to rebounds,” senior guard Austin Hamilton said, “We didn’t box out…they beat us on the glass, that’s why they won.”
The Phoenix's record now sits at 10-10 on the season and 2-5 in the CAA. The loss dropped Elon down to seventh in the CAA standings.
Elon will return to Alumni Gym to take on the University of Delaware on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 7 pm.