As the clock hit zero Feb. 25, the realization set in for graduate student guard Sean Halloran, graduate student Torrence Watson and the three other seniors that they had played their final game at the Schar Center

However, while the loss to the University of Delaware was the last game that the seniors would get the chance to play at Schar, it isn’t the last time they will have the chance to hit the hardwood. With the Colonial Athletic Association tournament scheduled to start March 3, the team will look to rebound after a heartbreaking regular season finale. 

Head coach Billy Taylor said despite not pulling off the win Feb. 25, he is pleased with where the team is headed to the tournament.

“For a team to be picked close to dead last to be in the eight versus nine game is really a testament to all the injuries that we’ve dealt with,” Taylor said.

The Phoenix will enter the playoffs ranked ninth out of the 13-team conference, and is set for a matchup against the No. 8 seeded William & Mary Tribe on March 4. Halloran said he hopes the team is able to find the connection that was present during the hot stretch in its last month of games. 

“When we went on a winning streak, all five guys on the court and even the people on the bench were on the same page at all times,” Halloran said. 

Halloran said if the Phoenix is able to do that, no one will want to run into Elon come tournament time.

“If we stay on the same page we can beat anybody in the conference,” Halloran said.

The Phoenix were able to rattle off six wins in its last 10 games, five of which coming in February. In the 10 game stretch, the Phoenix shot 42% from the floor, and scored an average of 67 points per game. 

As well as resparking the chemistry that was present in the last month, the Phoenix will need to rely heavily on its senior leadership if it wants to defy the odds and climb to the top of the CAA tournament. 

Only two of the current Phoenix players, graduate student guard Jerald Gillens-Butler and senior guard Zac Ervin, were on the seventh ranked squad that climbed through the ranks of the CAA tournament before it lost in the final round to the No. 6 overall Northeastern University Huskies in the 2019-20 season. As well as Ervin and Gillens-Butler, the two graduate transfers in forward John Bowen III and Halloran bring championship level experience from Belmont Abbey University. 

Taylor said with a team built around talent that can execute in the games biggest moments, anything is possible.

“We have guys that know how to get it done at this time of year,” Taylor said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to elevate our game and I know they will be dialed in preparation wise.”   

Courtesy of the Colonial Athletic Association.

Two games in the decisive 10 game stretch came against the very team the Phoenix will face on Saturday: The William & Mary Tribe. After hosting the Tribe at the Schar Center on Feb. 11, a game it won 66-55, the Phoenix traveled to north Williamsburg, Virginia, to face William & Mary just 12 days later and fell 70-63. Now, the teams are getting set for their third matchup in three weeks. Taylor said despite the frequent meetings, Elon will stay consistent in its preparation this week at practice.

“We’ll take some time to focus on ourselves first, and then we will start to focus on William & Mary,” Taylor said. “We will go through all of our plays and adjustments to make sure we are ready.”

As the postseason begins, Taylor said he expects the Tribe to come out stronger than ever, but has faith in his team.

“This is the conference tournament,” Taylor said. “Everybody is laying it all on the line because the season is at stake. I know our guys will be ready to compete.”