WASHINGTON, D.C. (Colonial Athletic Association) – Behind a 20-point, 15-rebound performance from freshman Hunter Woods, seventh-seeded Elon upset #2 William & Mary, 68-63, in the quarterfinals of the 2020 Hercules Tires CAA Men’s Basketball Championship on Sunday night at the Entertainment and Sports Arena.
With the victory, Elon (13-20) advanced to the CAA semifinals for the first time, where it will face either #3 Towson or #6 Northeastern at 8:30 p.m. on Monday night. The Phoenix is the first #7 seed to knock off a #2 seed in the CAA Tournament since 2004. William & Mary fell to 21-11 after the setback.
Woods, who turned in his top scoring effort since Nov. 23 and set a new career-high for rebounds, knocked down 5-of-7 from 3-point range as Elon made 13 triples in the contest. He was joined in double figures by Marcus Sheffield (19 points), Hunter McIntosh (12) and Federico Poser (11).
CAA Player of the Year Nathan Knight recorded his 23rd double-double with team-highs of 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead W&M. Andy Van Vliet chipped in 11 points and nine boards.
Carrying the momentum from Saturday’s last-second win over James Madison, Elon sprinted out to a 13-2 lead in the opening five minutes behind eight straight points from Sheffield. William & Mary battled back and pulled within 23-20 at 8:49 mark following back-to-back 3-pointers from Miguel Ayesa and Thornton Scott.
Elon, which hit 8-of-17 from 3-point range in the opening 20 minutes, got treys from Woods and fellow freshman McIntosh in the final 1:39 and took a 40-31 advantage into halftime. Woods paced the Phoenix with 12 first-half points and nine rebounds, while Knight contributed 12 points and seven boards for the Tribe.
The Phoenix continued their three-point barrage out the locker room, getting treys from Sheffield and Woods before a Woods jumper gave Elon its biggest lead, 48-34, with 18:17 remaining.
Trailing 53-41 with 15 minutes left, W&M held Elon scoreless for more than six minutes and cut the gap to 56-54 on a Bryce Barnes 3-pointer with 7:48 remaining. Sheffield ended the Phoenix drought by scoring a pair of buckets to push the lead back to six.
The Tribe answered with back-to-back layups from Knight that made it 60-58 with 2:38 remaining. The teams swapped big baskets over the next minute as Poser converted a 3-point play and Van Vliet answered with a 3-pointer to return the deficit to two. McIntosh then delivered a huge triple that put the Phoenix on top, 66-61, with 1:24 to go.
Up three with 16 seconds left, Sheffield made a pair of free throws to seal Elon’s second tournament victory in as many nights after entering the weekend with a 1-5 all-time mark since 2015.