The Elon University men’s basketball team fell at home to the Jacksonville State University Gamecocks, losing 93-81, for a fourth consecutive defeat.

The first half started off slow, with Elon scoring only 13 points in the first nine minutes. Turnovers defined the first nine minutes of the game for the Phoenix, as the team coughed up the ball six times during the stretch to fall behind by nine points.

Jacksonville State shot 71.4% on three pointers in the first half, compared to just 40% for Elon. The Phoenix trailed the Gamecocks 46-33 at halftime.

Head Coach Mike Schrage said he wants the team to become more competitive in certain aspects as it approaches its conference schedule.

“I thought we had some moments to really make the run we needed to make and then didn't come up with the ball or didn't block out hard enough, and that's got to become us, for us to be successful and get the results that we want going forward.” Schrage said.

The team entered this game following a weekend of three tough losses at the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic. Junior guard Hunter Woods said the team’s offense was better than in the tournament, but said he believes there is still room to improve. 

“In the tournament, I thought that there were stretches where we were not really trusting each other as well as we needed to be,” Woods said. “I feel like we did a better job of trusting each other, and letting the offense work.” 

Elon fell behind by 21 points within the first two minutes of the second half. The Phoenix had several open shots, but struggled to convert. Schrage said the team needs to execute better offensively, specifically when it comes to shot selection.

“We continue to grow offensively. We got to just keep taking our best shot every time,” Schrage said. “I think guys want it so bad and sometimes they don't trust each other.” 

Redshirt junior center Andrew Junkin, who had not played since the team’s season opener against the University of Florida, entered in the second half and brought aggressiveness to Elon’s defense. The Phoenix was also strong on the offensive glass, as the team grabbed 12 offensive boards.

Junior guard Zac Ervin led Elon in scoring with 18 points. He was followed by Woods who had 13. Junior guard Hunter McIntosh, sophomore guard Darius Burford and sophomore forward Michael Graham also scored in double digits, putting up 13, 12 and 10 points respectively in a losing effort for the Phoenix. 

Schrage said he saw progress from Woods throughout the Charleston Classic, influencing his decision to have him start today.

“He's a stat sheet stuffer,” Schrage said “He can score the ball, but he can really rebound the ball. He's one of our better passers.” 

The Phoenix will take on the UNC Greensboro Spartans at The Greensboro Coliseum on Nov. 30. The game will air on ESPN+ at 7 p.m.

“It's starting to hopefully finally click for us how competitive we have to be every single play and dip ourselves in position to beat really good teams who will continue to pop up on our schedule,” Schrage said.