WILMINGTON – The Elon University men’s basketball team fell to the University of North Carolina Wilmington Seahawks on Monday night, 62-54. The Phoenix is now 2-17 on the season and 0-6 in Colonial Athletic Association play.
Elon kept a 4-2 lead for the first five minutes, until the offenses heated up. Elon opened in a zone defense. At the 11:02 mark in the first half, sophomore forward Sam Sherry hit a shot from the top of the key to give Elon a 10-7 lead. However, struggles offensively for the Phoenix limited the team’s scoring, allowing UNCW to capitalize with a 13-4 run to take a nine point lead.
Senior guard Zac Ervin responded to UNCW’s run, hitting a pair of wing threes to cut the deficit to 22-17. The Seahawks continued to find holes in the Elon defense, answering with an Amari Kelly thunderous and-one dunk over Sherry to strengthen the lead.
Ervin stayed hot for Elon, sinking back-to-back threes again. Freshman guard Max Mackinnon shrugged off a defender for a layup, capping an 8-0 run to tie the score at 25-25. Immediately following that, UNCW guard Maleeck Harden-Hayes sank a corner three to give the Seahawks a three-point lead, which they carried into the half.
Graduate student guard Sean Halloran gave Elon its first lead with 14:46 remaining in the second half with a right hook layup. The Phoenix then forced a missed layup and ran the floor with Halloran leading the charge. He dished it to graduate student John Bowen III for an and-one dunk that put Elon ahead 36-33.
Eric Van Der Hejiden of UNCW responded with a corner three. Graduate student guard Torrence Watson proceeded to splash a wing three in a defender's face to retake the lead for the Phoenix. Van Der Hejiden kept firing, hitting another to tie it at 39-39. Out of a timeout, UNCW opened up an 8-0 run. From that point on, the Phoenix was only able to get within five, on the way to a 62-54 defeat.
Both Ervin and Halloran had strong performances, combining for 35 points.
The Phoenix’s sixth single digit loss is the team’s ninth in a row, as the team remains winless in CAA play. Elon returns home to face the Towson University Tigers on Jan. 21 at 4 p.m.