Down by seven with with 7:13 to go, Elon freshman Elijah Bryant went on a tear, scoring 16 points over the remaining time to spark a comeback and ignite the Alumni Gym crowd in an 85-79 win over William and Mary in the inaugural Colonial Athletic Association home game for the Phoenix.
Elon outscored William and Mary by 13 over the final 5:36 of the game, coming away with point on 13 of its last 14 possessions of the game.
"Our guys made some big shots and just enough plays defensively to battle back and get the victory," Elon Head Basketball Coach Matt Matheny said. "We're not always perfect. Basketball's a game of mistakes and we make our share, but we compete in all situations."
The game got tricky near the end for the Phoenix, which led by 10 with 2:58 remaining, as William and Mary went on its own run and chipped its way back to tie the game at 75 apiece as the Tribe's Marcus Thornton reversed his dribble at the top of the key and drilled a three pointer. Coming out of the timeout that ensued, Elijah Bryant and Tanner Samson improvised a little bit on Coach Matheny's play call, leaving Samson open for a three that would give the Phoenix the lead for good with just under a minute left.
"That's players making plays," Matheny said. "Everything that you draw up looks beautiful and then you get out there and run it and it doesn't always look like I draw it up. So they've got to make plays."
"It was a big-time," Elon guard Dmitri Thompson said. "We have trust in Tanner to make any shot."
With the win Elon improves to 10-6 (2-1) and will take on CAA foe Hofstra in Alumni Gym on Saturday.