Dmitri Thompson hit a pair of free throws with 9.3 seconds left to make it 61-58 for Elon. Charleston's Joe Chealey missed a 3-point attempt and Santa Ana capped the scoring with another pair of free throws with 1.8 seconds left.
Tyler Seibring gave the Phoenix a 57-51 lead on a 3-pointer with 2:29 left. The Cougars rallied with a 7-2 run, including Grant Riller's 3-point play, to get within 59-58.
Seibring had 17 points for the Phoenix (12-7, 4-2 Colonial Athletic Association). Thompson added 13 points and 11 rebounds and Brian Dawkins scored 10.
Jarrell Brantley had 16 points, Chealey and Riller added 14 each for the Cougars (12-6, 3-3).
Elon had a 10-0 run early in the second half to erase a nine-point deficit and added a 12-0 run to lead 51-39 with 9:26 left in the second half. Charleston had a 12-2 run that pulled the Cougars within 53-51 but they never took the lead.
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