HIGH POINT – The Elon University men’s basketball team recorded its seventh straight loss of the season Wednesday night, falling 84-70 to the Panthers of High Point University. The electric energy in the newly built Qubein Center, the home of High Point basketball, proved too much for the Phoenix to able handle. 

This was the 177th all-time meeting between the schools. Head coach Billy Taylor recognized the pride of Panthers’ fans in the stands for this game between the two local rivals. 

“I give High Point a lot of credit. This is a rivalry game. This is our rivalry game. This game goes back 100 meetings between these two universities. The High Point fans really showed out,” Taylor said. “This place was loud from start to finish. It was challenging for us to play our game, the way we wanted to play, in this type of environment.”

Despite the Panthers’ home-court advantage, the Phoenix started the first half strong, taking a 10-9 lead within the first five minutes of play. However, following the contest's first timeout, the Panthers went on an 11-0 run. With a 20-9 advantage, High Point controlled the remainder of the first half. 

It was an uphill battle for Elon on both ends of the floor. The Phoenix shot 4-26 from three, a season-worst. Sophomore center Sam Sherry’s presence in the paint was the only thing keeping the Phoenix in striking distance for the remainder of play. Sherry recorded 19 points and nine rebounds, capitalizing on his new role as the starting center for the Phoenix. 

Taylor praised his sophomore center for his efforts down low. 

“Sam was really terrific for us tonight. He’s had two great consecutive games,” Taylor said. “It stems from all the work he’s been putting in. He’s been consistent in his work ethic. He’s getting extra lifting sessions in. He’s getting stronger. And he’s improving in all aspects of his game. We needed someone to step up. Sam was ready for this moment, and he stepped up for us.” 

Elon came out hot to start the second half, cutting its 10-point halftime deficit down to four, but it was not enough to stop High Point’s momentum, as the Panthers quickly rebuilt the lead to double digits and maintained it throughout the remainder of the period. 

It has been 23 days since Elon’s last win. While the team had underperformed as of late, there was optimism inside the Phoenix locker room. Freshman guard Max Mackinnon’s 24 points and 12 rebounds had Taylor hopeful for what is to come. 

“Max played great for us tonight. He impacted the game in every statline,” Taylor said. “I’m really pleased with his development so far this season. This is a guy that has a huge impact on our team out on the floor and in the locker room, and I'm excited to see how he develops.”

Freshman guard LA Pratt clocked in valuable minutes for the Phoenix as well. The Columbus native’s playing time continues to increase, and Taylor said he values the intensity Pratt brings off the bench. 

“LA’s minutes in the second half were really impactful,” Taylor said. “He did a great job of defending for us, which is something we need from him night in and night out. He rebounded well, was able to get out in transition and really make some things happen for us on the offensive end of the floor.”

Elon looks to bounce back against the University North Carolina Greensboro at home Dec. 3. Taylor said he wants to use this experience to help the team prepare for UNCG and the start of conference play later in December. 

“Every game is an opportunity for us to learn and get better,” Taylor said. “We’ll break down the film. We’ll see the things we need to improve on. We’ll make the adjustments and go from there.”