The Elon University men’s basketball team outlasted the Peacocks of Saint Peter’s University in double overtime on Saturday night in Alumni Gym. Despite the Phoenix’s offense being held stagnant at multiple points during the game, Elon was able to secure the 71-65 victory.
The victory was secured in the second overtime period, as Elon outscored Saint Peter’s 10-2 in the second extra five minutes.
“It wasn’t pretty, but it doesn’t have to be pretty,” junior forward Tyler Seibring said. “At the end of the day, we’re now 6-3 and that’s the overall message here. In terms of this being another overtime game, I think we’re just used to it being at least 45 minutes now. That shows the experience that we have.”
The Phoenix – 5-3 coming into tonight – had been averaging almost 80 points per game; but tonight, they could not seem to get anything going. After starting the game shooting 0-10 from the field, 0-8 from behind the arc and 1-4 from the foul line, the Phoenix quickly got in a 13-1 hole, being held without a basket in the first nine and a half minutes.
“I think it happens from time to time,” said senior guard Brian Dawkins. “I mean we had good looks and they weren’t falling. I think we played good defense during that stretch to only score one point and be down 12 in eight minutes. To only be down 12 in that situation was really good. Ya know, it could’ve been a lot worse if we let our offense affect our defense.”
After finishing last year fourth in the country in points allowed, Saint Peter’s looked to continue its trend. Coming into the game off of back-to-back wins, the Peacocks are averaging only 64.7 points per game and allowing opponents only 64.3 on average.
At the half, the Phoenix was able to take a narrow 26-23 lead, with both redshirt senior guard Brian Dawkins and junior forward Tyler Seibring entering double digits for Elon.
In addition to the dry spell at the start of the game, the Saint Peter’s defense was able to hold the Phoenix scoreless for the first seven and a half minutes of the second period. The roles soon reversed when Elon went on its own 13-0 run.
Late in the second half, with the score tied at 52, Elon looked to have a chance to come out victorious with possession of the ball and 2.4 seconds remaining; but Dawkins stepped on the line while inbounding, giving the ball back to the Peacocks.
“I’m just glad we were able to get back out there on the next play and get the stop,” Dawkins said. “I never want to do that again.”
Head coach Matt Matheny said that the play shows "how well his team can clear its mind and focus on the next play".
“All you’re trying to do is throw it in and get somebody free to launch one and he steps over the line,” Matheny said. “They get the ball, they throw it into Brian’s man and he defends it. What a great next-play mentality. Brian exhibited it there, but I think our team has really done that very well.”
Dawkins finished the night with 21 points for the Phoenix. Seibring added 23, and junior guard Dainan Swoope was able to tack on 17 for the Elon squad.
“I thought they really defended us well,” Matheny said. “We had to make a play that leads to a play that leads to a play to score because they took away a lot of our actions.”
“I just think it shows the character of our team,” Dawkins said. “To be able to grind it out and play tough down the stretch, come up with big plays and big stops, I think it shows the maturity of the guys on our team already.”
Elon (6-3) will have a five-day rest before it makes the short trip down the road to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The Phoenix will face the Spartans on Thursday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.