Seventh-seeded Phoenix rise up to beat College of Charleston
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP)—Montell Watson had 15 points and Brett James 13 to lead seventh-seed Elon into its first Southern Conference tournament championship game with a 75-61 victory Sunday over the College of Charleston.
The Phoenix (14-18) came into the tournament 11-18, but knocked off their second league heavyweight in as many days following a 60-57 defeat of second-seed Chattanooga on Saturday.
Up next is No. 25 Davidson, trying for its third straight SoCon tourney title and carrying a 35-game win streak against league opponents.
The Wildcats advanced with a dominating, 82-52 win over UNC Greensboro earlier Sunday.
But don’t bother the Phoenix with details like that now.
When the buzzer sounded at the North Charleston Coliseum, Elon players and fans cheered like they’d already won a title.
If the Phoenix can follow up with one more improbable victory—they only lost to Davidson 59-57 back in January—they’d take a losing mark into the NCAA tournament.
Watson drove the Phoenix after halftime. He opened with two consecutive 3-pointers to make it 45-37, then made four foul shots down the stretch to hold off Charleston.
The closest the Cougars came was 52-48 after Dustin Scott’s layup with 10:45 left. But Ola Atoyebi had an inside bucket and two foul shots to stretch out the lead for Elon.
Atoyebi and Chris Long each had 12 points for Elon.
College of Charleston (16-17), seeded sixth, had hoped to reach its second straight championship game. However, it ends the year with its first losing season since 1979.
Dustin Scott led the Cougars with 22 points, hitting 10 of 11 shots. The rest of the Cougars shot just 14 of 50 (28 percent).
Elon put the pressure on right away, breaking out to a 21-12 lead. Long scored 10 out of his team’s 13 points during one stretch as the Phoenix kept control, 37-28.