Citadel falls in close ballgame to Elon
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Jack Isenbarger led three Elon players in double figures with a game-high 22 points as the Phoenix won a 70-66 shootout over The Citadel on Saturday afternoon at McAlister Field House.
Isenbarger, who knocked down 8-of-16 from the field, including four 3-pointers, was joined in double figures by the tandem of Tanner Samson (15) and Lucas Troutman (14).
Elon shot 27-of-59 (45.8%) from the floor and knocked down 12-of-27 (44.4%) from beyond the arc. Samson hit 5-of-12 from 3-point range, while Isenbarger finished 4-of-11 from downtown. Troutman controlled the paint, hitting 7-of-11 from the floor, to go along with four rebounds.
The Phoenix (13-7, 6-2 SoCon) climbed the glass for 30 rebounds, including 10 offensive, behind a pair of six-rebound performances by Ryley Beaumont and Sebastian Koch. Those offensive caroms provided a slim 27-26 advantage in points in the paint for Elon.
The Citadel offense was keyed by 20-point performances by Mike Groselle and Matt Van Scyoc. They became the first Bulldog teammates since Groselle and Cosmo Morabbi netted 25 and 20 points, respectively, in a win over Samford (Jan. 7, 2012).
Groselle converted 8-of-11 from the field while Van Scyoc regained his shooting touch by hitting 7-of-14 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Fellow starters Marshall Harris III (9 points) and P.J. Horgan (8) also made contributions to The Citadel offensive attack.
The Bulldogs tied Elon in total rebounds (30) as Groselle and Horgan shared game-high honors with nine boards apiece. The Citadel was also efficient from the free throw line, converting 15-of-22 (68.2%) from the stripe, led by Van Scyoc and Groselle (3-6).
Elon opened the second half with a 3-pointer by Koch and with 19:25 on the clock the Phoenix held a 41-33 lead.
Groselle found his niche in the lane, scoring six of the next nine points for The Citadel, and along with a trey by Ashton Moore the Cadets quickly trimmed the deficit to 44-42.
Long range 3-pointers by Samson and Isenbarger highlighted a 10-3 Elon run that took 1:06 off the clock as the Phoenix moved in front 52-45.
The Citadel gradually chipped away at the Elon lead, 52-48, behind free throws by Horgan and Van Scyoc. However, a pair of Isenbarger jumpers, combined with a 3-pointer by Koch, provided a nine-point cushion with under 10 minutes remaining.
A pair of layups by Troutman gave Elon its largest lead of the second half, 64-54, at the 7:01 mark. Less than a minute later, the Dogs' Dylen Setzekorn drew a blocking foul by Troutman and sank both free throws to spark a brief 6-0 Citadel run.
Clinging to a four point lead with 5:18 remaining in the half, Elon again turned to Troutman. The junior forward netted four of the next six points in the contest to provide the Phoenix with a 68-61 advantage.
Horgan accounted for all five of The Citadel's remaining points, including a 3-point buzzer beater, but it was Elon that emerged with their fifth straight win in the series.
The Citadel starting five accounted for all 33 first half points as the Bulldogs hit 12-of-24 (50%) from the floor, including three 3-pointers. Van Scyoc led all scorers with 13 points, connecting on 5-of-7 from the floor and knocking down two free throw attempts.
Elon countered with a 15-of-32 (46.9%) first half performance that included 12 points by Samson and 10 by Isenbarger. The Phoenix sent home seven three points, including four from Samson and two by Isenbarger.
Elon scored the first five points of the game, but Van Scyoc answered for The Citadel with a pair of free throws and a dunk to quickly make for a 5-4 contest.
Two 3-pointers by Isenbarger and one off the hand of Koch highlighted an 11-6 Elon run that allowed the Phoenix to forge ahead 16-10 with 13:05 remaining.
The Citadel countered with buckets by Van Scyoc and Groselle over the next two minutes, trimming the Phoenix lead to 18-16.
Layups by Troutman and Josh Bonney provided Elon with a four-point cushion, 23-19, before points from Horgan and Moore sliced the lead to one with 5:55 on the clock.
Samson found his range with three consecutive 3-pointers as the Phoenix established a 34-24 lead, with an 11-5 run, that took 2:42 off the clock.
Van Scyoc brought the game back to single digits by nailing a 3-pointer and following an old-fashioned three-point play by Groselle the Dogs were within striking distance, 36-30.
After Isenbarger scored the final Elon points of the first half, Harris hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make for a 38-33 Phoenix lead at the intermission.
The Citadel returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 26, when the Bulldogs welcome in-state rival Wofford to McAlister Field House. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m.