Le'Vonn Jordan registered a career-high 20 points and added 10 rebounds to lead the Phoenix to their third-consecutive SoCon victory.
Elon led by as much as nine with 10:41 left in the game before the Bucs went on a 9-0 run and tied the game at 56 with 8:14 remaining. Behind back-to-back three-pointers from Chris Chalko, the Phoenix increased the lead to six before East Tennessee State tied the game again at 67. A layup by Brian Waters gave Elon the lead for good at 69-67 with 2:45 left to play. Elon, which shot only 7-of-15 from the line in the final three minutes, increased its lead to as much as ten before finishing the game at 80-72.
In the first half, neither team led by more than five points. On consecutive jumpers from junior guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.), East Tennessee State took a five-point lead at 25-20. Elon went on a 7-1 run to take the lead 27-26 with 5:31 left in the half. A classic three-point play by Smith with 38 seconds on the clock tied the game for the fourth time at 34. Jordan then stole the ball and converted on two free throws with one tick on the clock to give Elon a 36-34 halftime lead.
Elon took advantages in bench points (34-13), fast break points (8-6) and second chance points (16-11) while ETSU edged the Phoenix in points in the paint (34-32) and points off turnovers (19-15). ETSU committed 13 turnovers to Elon's 12 and the teams were even in rebounding with each team pulling in 36.
The Phoenix shot 40 percent from the floor in the first half and 27.3 percent from behind the arc, but shot 53.8 percent in the second half, including 50 percent from three-point range. Elon converted on nine of 10 free throw attempts in the first half, but only 10 of 22 tries in the second stanza.
East Tennessee State shot 51.7 percent from the floor and 40 percent from three-point land in the first half and shot 40 percent in the second half and 33.3 percent from behind the arc.
Waters added 18 points for the Phoenix, shooting 6-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-6 from three-point range. Chalko tallied 14 points for Elon, including four three-point field goals.
Smith led the Bucs with 32 points, shooting 14-of-27 from the field. Smith also grabbed six rebounds on the evening. Junior forward Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio) finished with 18 points, shooting 6-of-6 from the line. Junior forward Dillion Sneed (Chicago, Ill.) paced the Bucs with seven rebounds.
East Tennessee State returns to action as they host Appalachian State on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.