ELON, N.C.--The Elon University men's basketball team rolled through a full court press from VMI on its way to an 87-70 victory over the Keydets on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at Alumni Gym.
"Not only did we beat pressure, we attacked pressure," Elon Head Coach Matt Matheny said of his team.
Two key figures in that attack were sophomore guard Tanner Samson, who scored a career-high of 23 points, including five three-pointers, and senior forward Lucas Troutman who dropped in 21 from the paint.
"With their 2-2-1 press, the middle is wide open," senior guard Jack Isenbarger said. "We just get a guy in the middle, get it to him, then they collapse and we can run the wings, and that got Tanner a lot of wide open looks."
In the first half, the Phoenix jumped out to an early lead and did not give it up, holding the advantage the entirety of the game. Elon used its press-break to not only dominate offensively, but defensively as well, where they were able to slow the pace from the up-tempo game VMI wanted to run, and lead by as many as 16 in the half and go into the break leading by 11.
The Keydets came out strong in the second half, going on an 8-3 run to pull within six points, but that was as close as the game got, as the Elon sprinted off on a 12-0 run of its own over the next three minutes to pull the game out of reach and give the Phoenix a comfortable finish after four straight nail biters.
"As the season has gone on, our guys have been more poised," Isenbarger said. "When we get the lead, we've been able to maintain it now, rather than being unsure about how to play in those situations."
The Phoenix now take a 10-day break for exams before suiting up again Friday, Dec. 13, in Boulder, Colo., where they will take on the University of Colorado at 8:30 p.m.