Written by Elon Sports Information:
GREENVILLE, S.C. - Clutch free throws and a stingy defensive effort down the stretch helped the Elon University men's basketball team to a 64-60 victory over the Furman Paladins on Saturday, Feb. 9, at Timmons Arena.
Elon improves to 16-8 overall and 9-3 in Southern Conference play with the win, while Furman falls to 6-16 (3-8 Southern Conference) with the setback. Elon's 16 wins are the most for the program in the Division I era and most since 1996-97. It marks the first time Elon had registered back-to-back nine-win seasons in conference play since making the transition to the Division I ranks as well.
"We knew coming into the game that we needed to improve when we're faced with adversity and I thought we did that today," said Elon head coach Matt Matheny. "We had a lot of guys step up and we played well in adverse conditions to gut out a victory."
Trailing by two with less than two minutes left, Sebastian Koch buried a baseline jumper with the shot clock winding down to tie the game at 57-all. After Furman split a pair of free throws on the next possession to take a one-point lead, Tanner Samson hit a jumper in the paint to give the Phoenix a 59-58 edge with less than a minute on the clock.
The maroon and gold came up with a key stop with less than 40 seconds to play after Furman's Stephen Croone drove through to lane and missed, giving Elon possession and forcing the Paladins in a must-foul situation with 26.8 seconds remaining.
Elon sunk 5-of-6 from the free-throw line from that point forward, keeping the Paladins at arm's length to secure the win, its eighth victory in its last nine games.
Koch led the Phoenix with a season-high 19 points after going perfect from the field on 6-of-6 shooting, including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc. The Munich, Germany, native also went 5-for-6 at the free throw line, as Elon shot 80 percent (12-of-15) as a team.
Ryley Beaumont ended the day with 15 points, including 13 in the second half, on 6-of-10 shooting, while Samson finished with 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting.
Elon shot 47 percent from the field as a team while holding the Paladins to a 46 percent clip.
The Paladins led by as many as 11 points in the opening frame after a Croone drive to the basket for a layup put Elon behind, 23-12, with 7:41 to play.
The Phoenix cut the deficit to four, 33-29, at intermission, as Egheosa Edomwonyi came up with a clutch block for the maroon and gold just before the clock hit zero to limit the damage.
Furman connected on 52 percent (15-of-29) from the field in the first half and won the battle on the boards, 18-13. The Phoenix shot 42 percent in the first half as Koch tied for a game-high 10 points with the Paladins' Colin Reddick.
Reddick ended the day with a game-high 22 points and 11 boards to lead the Paladins.
The Phoenix returns home on Thursday night, Feb. 14, for a Valentine's Day tilt with instate rival Appalachian State at 7 p.m. Two days later, Elon hosts Western Carolina at Alumni Gym for a 7 p.m. nightcap.
Elon/ WFMY News 2 Sports