Facing its only preseason opponent, the Elon University men’s basketball team defeated Division III Randolph College Wednesday night 99-63.
The Phoenix led the Wildcats throughout the first half, building a 30-point, 57-27 lead going into the break. The first 20 minutes ended with a 23-3 Elon run, capped by a Steven Santa Ana 3-pointer in the final seconds. Junior guard Danian Swoope led the Phoenix with 14 points in the first and fellow junior guard Sheldon Eberhardt added 12.
“I thought our guys were ready to play and focused and attentive to detail,” said ninth-year head coach Matt Matheny. “We made mistakes, but for the first 20 minutes I thought we were really locked in and did some good things, regardless of who we put in there.”
“I think it was a lot of fun tonight,” said junior forward Tyler Seibring. “You could tell early on that we were feeling everything out, but we are a veteran team and we were able to work through that and we didn’t panic.”
The first basketball game of the season inside Alumni Gym saw 14 of 15 players in action for the Phoenix, including all three freshmen to the Elon squad.
Named to the preseason Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) second team, redshirt senior Brian Dawkins was the only Phoenix not to play. Dawkins was the second on the team in scoring last season. According to Matheny, Dawkins had a sore knee and it was a game-time decision not to play him.
“I didn’t feel like in an exhibition we needed to push through it,” Matheny said. “Regular season game, I think he would have played.”
Four players reached double figures for the maroon and gold in the 36-point win, with junior forward/center Karolis Kundrotas obtaining a double-double. Swoope led the Phoenix in scoring, finishing the night with 17 points in 19 minutes.
“We didn’t know exactly what they were going to do, so it was nice to finally get out there and play against somebody that could test us,” Swoope said. “I think they did a good job spreading us out when we were on defense and that’s something we’re going to have to keep working on.”
Elon will head down the road to Durham to face off against preseason-ranked No. 1 Duke University on Nov. 10. That game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.