Chattanooga claims North Division lead with 58-45 win over Elon



CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Junior forward Nicchaeus Doaks (Trenton, Tenn.) and junior forward Khalil Hartwell (Philadelphia, Pa.) combined for 24 points and 17 rebounds as Chattanooga (6-4, 3-0) defeated Elon (5-5, 3-1) 58-45 Tuesday evening in a Southern Conference men’s basketball game at The McKenzie Arena. The win gives Chattanooga sole possession of first place in the North Division of the Southern Conference.


Trailing 32-31 with 15:21 remaining in the game, Chattanooga posted a dominating 16-5 run over the next 7:29 to take a 48-37 lead with 7:52 to play. Elon would not go quietly as junior forward Ola Atoyebi converted back-to-back layins followed by a jumper by junior guard Brett James to pull the Phoenix to within 48-43 at the 6:18 mark.


That would be as close as they would get, however, as the Mocs went on a 9-0 run fueled by five points from senior guard Kevin Bridgewaters (Columbia, Ky.) to extend their lead to 57-43 and put the game out of reach with 3:18 to go. During that stretch, Chattanooga held Elon scoreless for a total of four minutes before Atoyebi ended the drought with 2:17 to play. A Hartwell free throw then provided the final margin of victory for the Mocs as they closed out the 58-45 victory.


Trailing 4-3 early in the first half, Chattanooga took the lead, 21-10, with a decisive 18-6 run keyed by nine points from Doaks, including three consecutive baskets at one point, before extending to a 25-12 advantage with 5:43 remaining in the half. An 11-3 run by the Phoenix just before the half, capped off with back-to-back three-pointers and a foul shot, put Elon right back in the game as they drew to within 28-23 at the break.


The Phoenix continued their streak into the second half as they pulled to within 28-26 off of a quick three-pointer and eventually tied the game at 30-30 with 16:06 to play in the game. Following a free throw by junior forward Kevin Goffney (Ethel, La.) to give the Mocs a one-point lead, Elon freshman guard Chris Long knocked in a jumper to put the Phoenix ahead 32-31 at the 15:21 mark for their first lead since 2-0 early on. It would be a short lived lead as Chattanooga would then take control of the game with their 16-5 run.


Leading the way for Elon was Ola Ayotebi with a game-high 18 points on 9-of-14 shooting and a team-high tying five rebounds. Senior guard Montell Watson was the only other member of the Phoenix to reach double-digits, finishing with 10 points on the night. James added eight points and five rebounds.


For Chattanooga, Khalil Hartwell finished with 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds, five off the offensive glass, and Nicchaeus Doaks posted 12 points and eight boards. Bridgewaters posted a solid all-around performance with eight points, four rebounds and a team-high four assists.


The Mocs return to action on Friday, December 21 when they host Asbury in a.7 p.m. non-conference contest at The McKenzie Arena.




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