BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Elon University men’s basketball team fell 96-72 to the No. 18 Indiana University Hoosiers at historic Assembly Hall Dec. 20 to finish its non-conference schedule with a 2-11 record.
Elon came out strong in the first half, as the Phoenix trailed by two with just under seven minutes remaining. However, Indiana used a 20-4 run to go up by 18 at the half. Head coach Billy Taylor said he was proud of Elon for fighting throughout despite the team’s injuries.
“The way they fought in the second half, I think we lost the second half by five points,” Taylor said. “There were a lot of good things. We were short handed, undersized and we fought, so proud of our effort.”
Sophomore center Sam Sherry got into foul trouble quickly, picking up two within the first five minutes of play and a third later on which sent him to the bench for the rest of the first half. Indiana capitalized off Elon’s absence of size and depth inside to score 26 points in the paint. Taylor said losing Sherry early due to fouls was a huge loss.
“That was huge. I mean, he gives us a post presence, paint presence, someone to throw the ball inside to,” Taylor said. “We needed Sam's post presence tonight and we really missed that.”
Elon was without graduate student guard Torrence Watson for the second straight game, which left the Phoenix with only eight scholarship players available to play. Taylor said the team is looking for his recovery to be speedy and are looking toward him being back soon.
“Hopefully, we can get him back,” Taylor said. “We’ve just got to get him back as soon as possible.”
Graduate student guard Sean Halloran said Indiana’s atmosphere was loud and intense. Halloran said they were a good matchup for the team to face early on in the season.
“It was a super physical matchup. I mean, obviously, they're a great team. They’re well coached with a ton of great players,” Halloran said.
Taylor said he was appreciative of the chance to play against a tough opponent like Indiana and helped the team experience a physical team. Taylor said this game was good to learn from but the true season starts once Colonial Athletic Association play starts.
“This is a great opportunity to go and experience Assembly Hall, a great atmosphere and a great environment,” Taylor said. “It's cool for all of us to be part of this, but our real season starts with CAA play.”
The Phoenix will return to the court Dec. 29 against Drexel in its CAA opener. Elon is still looking for its first win this season against a Division I opponent as the Phoenix is 0-11 in games against Division I teams.