By Kevin Sweeney
For a moment, I thought I was watching a replay.
The ball was underneath the Elon basket, with just a few seconds to go.
Elon inbounded the ball to sophomore forward Tyler Seibring, who threw up a turnaround jumper.
The second one didn’t fall.
The Phoenix went with the same play in double overtime for the win as they did at the end of regulation, but Seibring couldn’t recreate the magic of his game-tying shot at the end of the second half, and Elon fell to Northeastern 105-104 in a wild 2OT affair.
Freshman guard Bolden Brace had a career-high 40 points on 10-20 from three for the Huskies, while senior guard T.J. Williams posted a triple-double with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists.
The game was exciting from the outset, as Elon jumped out to an early 14-3 lead but Northeastern responded with a barrage of threes to get right back in the game. The Huskies’ first 6 field goals and 10 of their 15 made shots in the first half were of the 3-point variety, with Brace leading the charge with 6 triples and 28 first half points. However, Elon maintained a lead for the entirety of the first half, carrying a 45-43 lead into halftime.
While the Phoenix held a slight lead throughout the first half, it was Northeastern who edged out in front for much of the second. Brace and Williams made play after play to try and will the Huskies to victory, but a late Seibring-led charge helped the Phoenix force OT. After a Seibring 3 gave Elon a 76-74 lead with just under 5 minutes to play, the Huskies went on a 7-0 run that included a triple from Brace that gave NU a 81-76 lead with just 1:47 to play. Seibring drained a big answer three to cut the deficit to 2, then Brace turned it over to give the Phoenix a chance to tie the game or even win. With just 4 seconds to go, forward Brian Dawkins went to the line with a chance to tie the game. He missed both free throws, but the ball went out of bounds off of Northeastern to give Elon another life. That’s when they ran the play for Seibring, who drained the turnaround jumper as time expired.
Williams played like a man on a mission in the overtime sesssions, driving to the basket with authority time and time again. But once again, Elon got a late bucket to stay alive, this time on a three from Dainan Swoope with 13 seconds to go to tie the game. But Dawkins’ shot for the win as time expired didn’t go, and the game continued.
Brace dealt with cramps down the stretch and seemed to run out of gas late, but Williams kept pushing the Huskies to the finish line. After Luke Eddy gave the Phoenix the lead with a pair of free throws with less than 20 seconds to go, Williams drove fearlessly to the basket and drew a foul. He stepped to the line confidently, and drained both. The second time, Seibring couldn’t recreate the magic, and the Huskies escaped North Carolina with a big-time road win.
Seibring led the Phoenix with 30 points and 12 rebounds in the losing effort. Dmitri Thompson added 23 points and 10 boards for Elon.
Elon now sits tied for 4th in the CAA and Northeastern is alone in 6th place. However, both teams showed flashes tonight of a team that could contend come next weekend for a CAA Tournament title.