Upset alert? Elon men’s basketball peaking at the right time

Elijah Bryant
Elon freshman Elijah Bryant. Photo credit: Elon Athletics
Elon freshman Elijah Bryant. Photo credit: Elon Athletics

Elon, N.C. — After Elon’s 72-65 upset victory over the Huskies on Thursday, freshman Dmitri Thompson had a message for the CAA.

“Just watch out,” said the guard. “I feel like if we keep on playing that way, we’re going to be alright.”

The win over the Northeastern, who came into Thursday’s contest as the No. 1 seed, gives the Phoenix its first win streak since early January, when they rode a four game streak into the New Year.

The team couldn’t of picked a better time to pick up some momentum.

“It’s a perfect time,” said Thompson, who had 12 points on 6 of 8 shooting and five rebounds. “Going into the tournament, all it takes is someone getting hot and hopefully we can be the ones that get hot.”

It was players like Thompson, who came off the bench,that made the difference in the contest. Elon’s bench outscored Northeastern’s subs 25-8.

Only two Huskies scored in double figures; Scott Eatherton with 20 points and David Walker with 17. Quincy Ford had just six points on one field goal.

The Phoenix started aggressive and led 21-12 with a little over seven minutes to go. Eatherton kept Northeastern in the game by scoring 12 of the Huskies’ next 15 points.

The Huskies led 27-23 with over a minute left but a 3-pointer by Austin Hamilton and a jumper by Thompson gave Elon their first halftime lead since January 24th against Delaware.

Still, it seemed like Northeastern would regain control. They committed 10 turnovers in the first half and Elon lived and died by the 3-point line, going just 2-13 from behind the arc.

But Elon showed they have what it takes to win a statement game, starting the second half calm, collected and confident.

It took less than four minutes for them to jump out to a 8 point lead, with rookie sensation Elijah Bryant scoring 7 of their first nine points. Bryant was most impressive on the boards, with eight recorded rebounds.

Elon, who plays four guards in almost all of its lineups, won the battle of the boards 33-32.

The Huskies tried to punch back multiple times but Elon always had an answer – and they came from all over the roster.

Three different players scored in double figures and eight players scored on the team. Christian Hairston, a sophomore, scored nine points off the bench. He thinks the Phoenix are approaching a new level of basketball.

“We’re getting towards that point,” Hairston said. “Are we there yet? No. But we have another game, another week of practice to get to that point and we’ll be ready for the tournament.”

According to Thompson, the win could very well foreshadow a potential shocker in the CAA tournament for Elon men’s basketball.

“All it takes is one game,” Thompson said. “If they don’t come out and fight like we’re going to fight then we’re going to beat them and we’re going to move on.”