Williamsburg, VA — In the second matchup in three days between the Elon University men’s basketball team and the William & Mary Tribe, the Phoenix came up short, losing 65-61 despite a furious second half comeback attempt.
Elon, who defeated William & Mary 61-54 on Jan. 27, trailed 22-6 just over halfway through the opening half. Elon started to find its offensive groove late in the half, but William & Mary held a 33-22 halftime lead.
The Tribe stretched its lead to 15 in the opening minutes of the second half, but the Phoenix quickly began to chip away at the deficit. A three-pointer from junior guard Zac Ervin with 9:15 remaining cut the Tribe’s lead to six, the smallest it had been since the game's opening minutes.
However, William & Mary answered the Ervin jump shot with a 6-0 run to push its lead back to 12 with seven minutes left. Elon pulled within one possession with 17 seconds remaining on a layup by sophomore forward Michael Graham.
After William & Mary split a pair of free throws to go up by three points, Elon had a chance to tie the game, but a turnover from Ervin ended the team’s hopes. After an Elon foul, William & Mary again split a pair of free throws to go up by four with under five seconds remaining and secure the victory.
Sophomore guard Darius Burford led the Phoenix with 20 points. Junior guard Hunter McIntosh pitched in 14 and Ervin’s 13 points were his most since Elon’s Nov. 27 contest against Jacksonville state. Senior guard Kris Wooten made his second start of the season and first since Dec. 4
Elon outscored William & Mary 39-32 in the second half, but never held a lead in the game. The free throw differential between the teams hurt Elon, as William & Mary attempted 26 foul shots and converted on 20, while Elon went just 5-9 from the line.
With the loss, Elon remains winless in road games this season and falls to 3-6 in Colonial Athletic Association games. The team returns home for a game against the University of North Carolina Wilmington Seahawks on Feb. 3 at 7 p.m.