GREENSBORO, N.C.—UNCG's Trevis Simpson scored a season-high 27 points but it wasn't enough as Southern Conference foe Elon downed the Spartans, 80-72, on Monday at Greensboro Coliseum.
Simpson was 8-of-16 from the field, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. The sophomore swingman also went 7-of-9 from the free throw line and added four rebounds. He scored 18 points in the second half as UNCG (2-7 overall, 0-3 SoCon) nearly rallied from a 14-point second half deficit.
Elon (6-2, 2-0), which placed three players in doubles figures and shot 50 percent from the field, led throughout much of the game. The Phoenix gained a nine-point advantage in the first half when a layup by Lucas Troutman made it 22-13 with 7:50 left in the half.
UNCG rallied at the end of the first half, and carried that momentum into the early stages of the second half. Trailing 34-26 with just over two-and-a-half minutes left in the first half, UNCG closed with an 8-4 run to close within 38-34 at halftime.
The run continued in the second half. A layup by Simpson and a three-pointer by Drew Parker pulled the Spartans to within 40-39 with18:49 remaining. Simpson gave UNCG its first lead since early in the first half 70 seconds later with a three-pointer as the Spartans took a 42-40 lead.
The next five minutes featured three lead changes and one tie before back-to-back three-pointers by Aaron Hamilton and Sebastian Koch gave Elon control of the game and a 55-49 lead with 11:17 remaining.
The Phoenix pushed the lead to as many as 14 points twice, the last time coming when Ryley Beaumont's jumper made it 69-55 with 5:53 to go. But UNCG had one more challenge left.
Simpson scored 11 points during a 15-5 run, helping UNCG to get within 74-70 with 1:15 left. But Elon
went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 51 seconds to seal the win.
Korey Van Dussen joined Simpson in double figures for the Spartans with 13 points, hitting 6-of-10 shots from the field. Van Dussen added six rebounds and three assists in his best performance of the season.
UNCG shot just 37 percent from the field, including 31 percent (8-26) from beyond the arc. UNCG made eight straight free throws to start the game but finished 14-of-24 from the line.
The Spartans out-rebounded Elon, 40-36, and committed only 12 turnovers.
Troutman and Jack Isenbarger led Elon with 19 points, while Koch chipped in with 10. The Phoenix shot 40 percent (8-20) from three-point range and was 12-of-14 from the free throw line.
The Spartans next visit Florida State, 1 p.m., Sunday in Tallahassee, Fla.