Phoenix stun second seed Chattanooga
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP)—Ola Atoyebi’s putback basket with 20.9 seconds left lifted Elon into the Southern Conference tournament semifinals with a 60-57 victory over second-seeded Chattanooga.
The Phoenix (13-18) trailed 57-54 after Kevin Bridgewaters’ long 3-pointer with 2:07 to go.
Then Atoyebi took over. His bucket with 59.3 seconds left to make it 57-56.
After Marcus Watts missed two foul shots for the Mocs, Atoyebi came through again, picking up the miss by Montell Watson to convert the winning basket.
Chattanooga (18-13) had its chance at victory as Kevin Goffney had a wide-open 3-point attempt. However, Brett James wrestled away the rebound, got fouled and made both free throws with 6 seconds left.
Stephen McDowell’s last-second try at a long 3-pointer hit the front of the rim and Elon’s celebration was on.
It was the second time in three seasons the Phoenix have reached the league semifinals. They fell to tournament champion Davidson in 2006.
Elon will play College of Charleston on Sunday.
Atoyebi led the Phoenix with 13 points and 10 rebounds. James had 12 points.
Nicchaeus Doaks had 12 points to top Chattanooga.
Chattanooga looked like it had things in hand ahead 52-47 on Keyron Sheard’s two foul shots with 6:22 to go.
Elon’s Chris Long led the comeback with two 3-pointers and a foul shot over the next three minutes.
His second long-range basket tied the game at 54-all with 3:33 remaining to set up the dramatic finish.
Chattanooga had beaten Elon in both regular season meetings this year. Although just a week ago, the Mocs needed Doak’s 3-pointer to squeak out a 57-56 victory.
This time, it was the Phoenix who made the biggest plays when it counted most.