Spartans fall to Phoenix on Monday night
By Rob Daniels
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Elon built a comfortable lead by driving down the lane in the first half and turning offensive rebounds into second-chance scoring in the second, and the visiting Phoenix kept UNCG winless with an 80-65 verdict at the Greensboro Coliseum on Monday.
Senior guard Chris Long went 16-for-20 at the foul line in a 21-point night for the Phoenix, which saw a 14-point edge shaved to four but withstood the Spartan run and ultimately pulled away. Elon (8-8, 2-3 Southern Conference) made 29-of-38 free throws in all and outrebounded the Spartans by 13.
"I thought we would finally get over the hump, but we failed to block out and it was the same old story," said sophomore forward Brian Cole, who had a career-high 15 points in 18 minutes off the bench for the Spartans (0-16, 0-5 SoCon).
In all, the Phoenix scored on 18 of 22 possessions in a stretch spanning halftime and built a 50-36 lead on Drew Spradlin's jumper off the left baseline with 16:49 left.
Elon missed shots on eight possessions in the first 10 minutes of the half, but it got second-chance points on five of those situations. That contributed to a 46-33 rebounding edge on the night and had a cumulative and draining impact on the Spartans, whose task in overcoming the deficit was hard enough under any circumstances.
"They got extra opportunities and got to the foul line a lot," UNCG coach Mike Dement said.
It all meant the Spartans faced a second-half deficit in the teens for the third time in five days. They made another commendable run, and the Phoenix appeared to help the Spartan cause when Scott Grable was assessed a technical foul for excessive disagreement with referee Bryan Kersey at the 8:44 mark. Korey Van Dussen hit both of the free throws, but a failed front end of a one-and-one on the subsequent possession stalled the momentum.
"We cut it to five and got the ball right back and had a chance to cut it to three or two, and we didn't convert," Cole said. "I thought that was significant."
UNCG did get the deficit down to 63-59 on Trevis Simpson's runner with 7:06 left. In order to secure the comeback, the Spartans would have to succeed in a gambling, trapping defense that conceded the occasional open man in the name of contesting passes and generating open-floor turnovers. Their margin for error offensively would remain low as well.
Elon freshman Jack Isenbarger took advantage of the open space by flashing across the middle of the lane for a runner that made it a six-point game, and the Spartans could get no closer.
Elon, a 73-percent foul-shooting team, is less likely to give up a late advantage than many foes, and that was the deal again on Monday.
"I thought they had control of the game the whole time," Dement said. "We couldn't get the ball in the basket."
The Spartans shot 32 percent from the floor on the night, but they were within striking distance for much of the second half because they took good care of the ball. Their turnover total of eight was a season low by five.
Elon 80, UNCG 65
ELON (8-8, 2-3 SoCon)
LONG,Chris 2-8 16-20 21; SPRADLIN,Drew 8-12 1-2 18; ISENBARGER,Jack 5-13 2-2 16; TROUTMAN,Lucas 2-3 3-5 7; BEAUMONT,Ryley 2-3 2-4 6; DUGAS,Roger 2-4 1-1 5; GRABLE,Scott 0-0 4-4 4; KOCH,Sebastian 1-3 0-0 3; ERVIN,Brett 0-0 0-0 0; WATTS,Daniel 0-1 0-0 0; BIRDETTE,Terrance 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 22-51 29-38 80.
UNCG (0-15, 0-5 SoCon)
COLE, Brian 6-11 0-0 15; VAN DUSSEN, Korey 1-6 8-9 10; HENRY, Aloysius 4-11 2-5 10; SIMPSON, Trevis 3-9 1-2 8; WILLIAMS, David 3-3 0-2 7; RANDALL, Kyle 1-8 3-4 5; HENEGAR, Cody 1-3 0-0 3; BRACKETT, Aaron 1-6 1-2 3; EVANS, Brandon 0-3 2-2 2; PARKER, Drew 1-5 0-0 2. Totals 21-65 17-26 65.
Elon.......................... 43 37 - 80
UNCG.......................... 33 32 - 65
3-point goals--Elon 7-21 (ISENBARGER,Jack 4-11; LONG,Chris 1-4; SPRADLIN,Drew 1-2; KOCH,Sebastian 1-2; BIRDETTE,Terrance 0-1; DUGAS,Roger 0-1), UNCG 6-15 (COLE, Brian 3-4; HENEGAR, Cody 1-2; SIMPSON, Trevis 1-3; WILLIAMS, David 1-1; EVANS, Brandon 0-1; RANDALL, Kyle 0-2; VAN DUSSEN, Korey 0-2). Fouled out--Elon-None, UNCG-WILLIAMS, David. Rebounds--Elon 46 (DUGAS,Roger 11), UNCG 33 (BRACKETT, Aaron 8). Assists--Elon 11 (LONG,Chris 4), UNCG 11 (VAN DUSSEN, Korey 4). Total fouls--Elon 23, UNCG 26. Technical fouls--Elon-GRABLE,Scott, UNCG-None. A-2706
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