Jan. 30, 2014
Elon, N.C. - Elon placed five players in double digits and fought off a furious second half comeback as the Phoenix handed Western Carolina a 74-60 loss in a frantic and physical Southern Conference game in Alumni Gym Thursday night.
Western Carolina trailed by as many as 18 points three times in the first half after converting only nine of its 26 shot attempts. Elon opened up the 15 point, 35-20, halftime lead on an effective 12-of-22 performance from the field, including five 3-pointers on eight attempts.
However, the Catamounts made four 3-pointers within the first four minutes of the second half, but the Phoenix still maintained its comfortable double-digit lead, 46-34, at the 16-minute mark. Elon scored the next points on a layup by Kevin Blake 30 seconds later, but WCU mounted an 11-3 run over the next 4 minutes and 23 seconds to cut the lead down to 51-45 on triple from Tom Tankelewicz - WCU's fifth of the half. Elon, who made only three free throws during the Catamount run, ended a six-minute streak without a field goal when Sebastian Koch knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Phoenix a nine-point lead, 54-45, with 9:29 remaining.
The Catamounts continued to push the pace and claw back into the game as WCU cut the lead down to one possession, 58-55, on the heels of a 10-4 run three minutes later following the second James Sinclair trey during the stretch. On the ensuing Elon possession, Tanner Sampson connected on a jumper to regain a five-point lead, 58-55, at the six minute mark.
Thirty seconds later, WCU's Sinclair had a three rattle out following an Elon turnover that would have cut the lead down the two points. On the next Elon possession it was Sampson who again answered with 3-pointer to give the Phoenix an eight-point advantage, 63-55, with five minutes to play. Sampson's basket sparked a 14-5 Elon run as the Phoenix ran out the clock and secured the 74-60 win.
Western Carolina was whistled for 16 fouls compared to just seven calls against Elon. The foul discrepancy resulted in lopsided advantage from the line as Elon made 23 trips to the charity stripe leading to 13 Phoenix points. The Catamounts on the other hand did not attempt a free throw in the 40 minutes of physical play.
The Purple and Gold's first half struggles improved as WCU finished 25-of-62 from the field for 40 percent and 10-of-23 from behind the arc for 44 percent. Elon continued its hot shooting ending at 53 percent, 26-of-49, overall and 53 percent, 9-of-17, from long range.
Lucas Troutman paced the five Elon scorers in double-digits with 17 points as he made six of his 10 shots from the floor and five of his nine free throw attempts; Troutman also collected a game-high 10 rebounds earning a double-double. Sampson added 15 points aided by a 4-of-6 performance from behind the arc, while Koch chipped in 13 points. Kevin Blake connected on all five his shots from the floor, but only on two of his six free throws to earn his 12 points, while Jack Isenbarger went 4-of-6 overall including all three of his 3-point field goals to pick up 11 points for the Phoenix. Isenbarger and Ryley Beaumont each handed out four assists.
Western Carolina was led by Brandon Boggs, who was 8-of-20, for 19 points, and Sinclair, who added 18 points including four threes. Boggs was also the Catamounts leading rebounder with eight boards.
With the win, Elon improves to 11-11 on the season and 4-3 in conference contests. The Catamounts (12-11, 5-3) take the next nine days off before hosting Appalachian State on February 8 at 2 p.m.
Western Carolina at Elon Game Notes
- WCU's Justin Browning picked up his first career start at Elon ... Browning finished with four points, two rebounds and two assists.
- WCU did not attempt a free throw in the game ... It is the first time in game between conference opponents in the NCAA a team has not attempt a free throw;
- James Sinclair finished 4-of-8 from behind the 3-point arc tying a career-high for 3s made in a game and setting a career-high for 3-pointers attempted in a game.
- Elon had five players score in double figures - Lucas Troutman with 17 points, Tanner Samson with 15 points, Sebastian Koch with 13 points, Kevin Blake with 12 points and Jack Isenbarger with 11 points ... It is the second time this season WCU's opponent had five players in double-digits ... Wright State was the first team to do this season on November 30.
- WCU falls to 3-9 in road games this season and 4-10 in games away from the Ramsey Center.