The Mountaineers (4-10, 0-1 SoCon) shot just 28.6 percent (6-of-21) through the first 20 minutes while the Phoenix (8-8, 1-1) connected on an incredible 65.4 percent (17-of-26) from the floor in the first half to take a 15-point lead into the locker room.
Appalachian looked good early on as it grabbed a quick 4-1 lead on layups from Jay Canty (Jamestown, N.C./Xavier/Oak Ridge Military) and Tevin Baskin (Stamford, Conn./Chipola College/Trinity Catholic) and clinged to an 8-7 advantage after Canty nailed a pair of free throws with 13:42 to play in the opening period.
Elon responded with 16-5 run over the next seven-plus minutes to take its first double-digit lead (23-13) with 5:54 on the clock. The run was fueled in large part by App States inability to make a bucket for almost 10 minutes in the first half. After Cantys layup with 17:10 to play, the Mountaineers would not score from the field until Baskin nailed a jumper at the 7:43 mark.
After the Apps cut the deficit to eight points (23-15) on Tab Hamiltons (Winston-Salem, N.C./Fishburne Military) layup with 5:19 left, the Phoenix would mount a 12-5 run to end the half as Jack Isenbarger connected on a mid-range jumper with six seconds remaining to give Elon a 35-20 lead at the half.
The Phoenix was able to stretch its lead to as many as 20 points (50-30) midway through the second half, but the Mountaineers would mount a comeback by reeling off a 22-10 run over a seven-plus minute span to cut the deficit to just eight points (60-52) with 4:01 left to play.
During the run, Baskin scored seven points to fuel the Apps, but Elon responded with several timely three-pointers to push its lead back to double-digits (63-52) with 2:49 on the clock.
A three-pointer from Frank Eaves (Greensboro, N.C./Page) would make it 69-61 with just 42.2 seconds remaining and Appalachian forced a turnover on the ensuing inbound play, resulting in a Phoenix foul that sent Baskin to the line, where he was able to cut the deficit to six points (69-63) with 40.0 ticks left.
Despite nearly blowing its huge lead, Elon would keep its composure in the waning moments by connecting on several key free throws down the stretch en route to its first league win.
Canty led all players with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting while tallying four steals. Baskin scored 17 points and Eaves poured in 11 off the bench while Michael Obacha (Edo State, Nigeria/High Point Christian) led the Mountaineers with six rebounds.
Ryley Beaumont scored 16 points for the Phoenix while Ryan Winters scored 14 off the bench. Lucas Troutman tallied 13 points and a game-high seven rebounds while Jack Isenbarger finished with 12 points off the bench.
On the night, the Mountaineers shot 46.8 percent (22-of-47) including a 16-of-26 mark (61.5 percent) in the second half. Elon finished at 54.7 percent (29-of-52) on the night and pulled down 35 rebounds to Appalachians 21.
The Mountaineers return to action on Thursday when they play host to SoCon rival UNCG at 7 p.m. inside the Holmes Center.
NOTES: The Mountaineers fell to 52-44 all-time against Elon... Appalachian has lost three in a row at Alumni Gym to fall to 12-31 all-time in games played at Elon... the Phoenix, which entered the night shooting 41.0 percent from beyond the arc (17th in the nation), shot just 23.1 percent (3-of-13) from long range on Monday... the Apps dropped to 21-22 all-time in SoCon openers... the Elon bench outscored Appalachians 32-18 and the Phoenix outscored the Mountaineers 40-28 in the paint.
ELON 75, APPALACHIAN STATE 66
SCORE BY PERIODS 1ST 2ND TOTAL
APPALACHIAN STATE 20 46 - 66
ELON UNIVERSITY 35 40 - 75
ASU: BASKIN 17, OBACHA 3 (6 REBOUNDS), CANTY 20, HAMILTON 4, BURGESS 4, SPAGNOLO 3, EAVES 11, NEAL 4. FG: 22-47, 3FG: 2-10, FT: 20-29. 21 REBOUNDS, 7 ASSISTS, 11 TURNOVERS.
ELON: BEAUMONT 16, TROUTMAN 13 (7 REBOUNDS), SAMSON 4 (5 REBOUNDS, 4 ASSISTS), HAMILTON 4 (4 ASSISTS), KOCH 8, HAIRSTON 2, SOBATO 4, ISENBARGER 12, WINTERS 14. FG: 29-53, 3FG: 3-13, FT: 14-18. 35 REBOUNDS, 17 ASSISTS, 15 TURNOVERS.
Photo Courtesy: Tevin Baskin, ASU Athletics