WILMINGTON N.C.-- Midway through the second half of the Elon University men's basketball team's 82-65 loss to UNC Wilmington on Wednesday night, sophomore forward Christian Hairston stopped looking up at the scoreboard.

The Phoenix trailed the Seahawks by 30, and the team was trying to keep fighting.

"As a competitor you just try to play basketball," Hairston said. "I know we were trying to chip away [at UNCW's lead] but sometimes it has a negative effect. You could be playing well, look up and see you're still down 21, and you just go 'ahhhh.'"

But whether or not he looked up at the score, it was a frustrating night all around for Elon.

After giving up the first bucket of the game to Elijah Bryant, UNCW took total control, taking advantage of Elon's mistakes on both ends of the floor and stifling the Phoenix with a pressure defense that frazzled the offense the entire way up the court.

"Wilmington dictated the way the game went for the better part of 40 minutes tonight," said Elon head coach Matt Matheny. "They really hurt us with not only their ability to penetrate our defense, but finding the guys open in the paint and the guys out on the perimeter. I thought we did a pretty good job of handling the front end of their pressure, but we didn't make them pay on the back end."

Instead it was the Phoenix who paid, as Elon committed several unforced errors both offensively and defensively that led to unnecessary turnovers on offense and easy, uncontested buckets on defense.

The Phoenix had no answer for anything UNCW threw at it during the first period, going into the break doubled-up, 47-23. Elon couldn't buy a shot while the Seahawks couldn't miss, as the teams headed into the half shooting 28 percent and 62 percent respectively.

"We really tried to do the right things in the first half, and in our attempt to try, we weren't really playing with an aggression," Matheny said. "You cant play against a team like this back on your heels and without aggression because they make you play for it."

Elon managed to pull the game as close as 16 with 13:22 to go, but UNCW reeled off on a 16-2 run to go up by 30 and put the game out of reach.

"We've got to learn from [tonight's game]," Matheny said. "We're going to really scrutinize it and we've got to use this as part of our process to improve. There's going to be intensive film study, coaches and players."

As for Hairston, he's looking forward to when UNCW comes to Alumni Gym for the regular-season finale on Feb. 28.

"They played well, we did not play well; it's hard to win a game that way but we didn't quit," he said. "We've got heart on this team, and if they didn't see that tonight, they'll see that next time we play them.

The loss drops Elon to 11-11 (3-6 CAA) on the season and marks its fifth loss in the past six games.

The Phoenix looks to bounce back when it heads up to Boston to play Northeastern on Saturday at 7 p.m.