Slow start dooms Spartans at Elon
ELON, N.C. –Trevis Simpson scored 22 points for the Spartans, but UNCG fell into an early 13-0 hole and never recovered on its way to a 93-79 Southern Conference setback at Elon, Saturday at Alumni Gym.
The Spartans (12-18 overall, 10-8 SoCon) lost their third straight game as they closed out the regular season in advance of next weekend's Southern Conference tournament, where they will serve as the number one seed from the north division.
Elon (14-15, 9-9) bolted to a 13-0 lead just over five minutes into the game as four different players scored for the Phoenix. UNCG eventually got on the board when a Simpson layup with 15:41 left before halftime, but Elon scored the next eight points and led 21-2 with 14:35 left.
But the Spartans didn't go away, eventually cutting Elon's lead to nine points at halftime, 48-39.
In the second half, Elon quickly increased its lead to 50-39, but the Spartans responded with five straight points to pull within 50-44 on a Simpson jumper with 17:40 left.
Elon answered with consecutive baskets for a 55-44 advantage, and maintained an 8-11 point lead for the next six minutes. After UNCG cut the lead to 61-53 on a Korey Van Dussen jumper with 12:12 left, the Phoenix essentially put the game away with a 13-2 run for a 74-55 lead 9:21 remaining.
The Spartans shot 41 percent for the game, but were juts 4-of-17 from three-point range. UNCG also suffered through a 13-of-25 effort at the free throw line. UNCG turned it over just 13 times and matched the Phoenix in rebounds with 45 apiece.
Elon shot 46 percent for the game, including 52 percent in the second half. The Phoenix were 10-fo-20 from three-point range and an incredible 27-of-39 from the free throw line.
Simpson shot 10-of-22 from the field and made two of his three free throws, adding seven rebounds. Nicholas Paulos came off the bench to account for all four of UNCG's three point field goals, finishing with 12 points. Derrell Armstrong chipped in with 14 points and eight rebounds.
Jack Isenbarger led Elon with 24 points.
Up next for the Spartans is the Southern Conference Tournament, which begins with opening round action on Friday, March 2 in Asheville, N.C. The Spartans will face either College of Charleston or Appalachian State, at noon on Saturday as the tournament moves into the quarterfinals.