Written By Elon Sports Information Dept.
ELON, N.C. - Tanner Samson and Lucas Troutman provided the one-two punch the Elon University men's basketball team needed on Tuesday night, Dec. 3, inside Alumni Gym, as the duo led the Phoenix to an 87-70 victory over the visiting VMI Keydets.
Samson poured in a career-high 23 points and grabbed a career best nine boards in the victory, while Troutman ended the evening with 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field.
"It feels really good to get a win going into exams," said Elon head coach Matt Matheny. "We defended very well tonight against a good VMI team. We've had a tough stretch with a lot of games and I think we're continuing to get better as the season progresses."
Elon (5-4) stifled VMI (4-4) defensively for most of the game, holding the Keydets well below their 88 points per-game season average and to 39 percent shooting from the field. QJ Peterson, who came into tonight averaging 22.4 points per game, scored 14 points.
As a team, the Phoenix shot 57 percent from the field after knocking down 30-of-53 from the field. Elon has shot 50 percent or better in five games this season. The Phoenix knocked down 6-of-18 from long range, five of which came off the hot hand of Samson.
Elon outrebounded VMI, 37-35, to improve to 3-1 this season when it wins the battle on the glass.
Back-to-back fast-break layups by the Phoenix forced a VMI timeout with 3:42 remaining in the first half following a Sebastian Koch tap in off a Luke Eddy miss that gave Elon a 35-21 lead.
Elon led by as many as 16 points in the opening frame, carrying a 42-31 into the locker room at intermission. Despite shooting an uncharacteristic 22 percent (2-of-9) from long distance in the first half, overall, the Phoenix shot 55 percent in the first 20 minutes.
The Keydets managed to narrow the gap to six points early in the second period, but Elon jumped out to a 13-point lead with 14:54 to play after a Samson triple in the corner to make it a 52-39 game.
Elon's lead escalated quickly from that point forward, as a VMI technical foul on head coach Duggar Baucom led to two Samson free throws and make from long distance on the free possession, giving the Phoenix a 57-39 advantage.
The maroon and gold increased its lead to as many as 21 points in the second session, as the Keydets could pull no closer than 15 down the stretch.
Following a 10-day break for final exams, the Phoenix returns to action on Friday, Dec. 13, in Boulder, Colo., versus the University of Colorado. Tip is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. (ET) at the Coors Events Center and the game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
Elon Sports Information Dept.