Darden opened the scoring in the contest with a 3-point basket and the Chanticleers never looked back in the opening 20 minutes. Coastal scored 17 of the first 22 points to open a 12-point cushion on walk-on Marko Durovic's 3-pointer with 10:56 remaining in the first half. The Chants maintained the lead for the remainder of the half, but Elon tallied the final four points of the opening frame to cut the lead to just four at 34-30 at the break.
A changed and more determined Phoenix squad emerged from the locker room and used a quick 8-1 spurt to take their first lead of the night. David Hall's fastbreak layup gave Elon its first lead at the 18:02 mark and Ross Sims jumper gave the Phoenix their largest lead of the night at 38-35 with 17:36 remaining. Four tied scores and three lead changes later, Coastal Carolina was back in command for good.
Leading 48-47, Coastal Carolina went on an 11-2 run to reopen its double-digit lead at 59-49 on another Darden trey with 10:14 on the clock. Elon pulled back to within two twice with about six minutes to play, but the Chanticleers responded with an 8-2 run to take a 71-63 lead with 4:38 remaining on Brandon Newby's 3-pointer. That basket proved to be the last field goal that Coastal Carolina would connect on the rest of the night as the Chanticleers slowed the offense and forced Elon to foul the rest of the way. The Chants connected on 9-of-11 from the free throw line in the final 4:16, including four straight by Alvin Green in the final 46 seconds, to hold off the Phoenix.
Darden added 10 rebounds to his career-high 26 points for his third double-double of the season and seventh of his three-year career. Derrick Robinson added 14 points and eight boards, while Green and Justin Burton chipped in with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Jackson Atoyebi proved almost unstoppable as he came off of the bench to net a team-high 25 points and grab eight rebounds for Elon. Brendon Rowell added 12 points for the Phoenix, while Chris Adams hauled down a team-best nine rebounds. The Phoenix outrebounded Coastal Carolina 42-31, including 21 offensive boards.
Coastal Carolina will host High Point University at 5:00 p.m. this Saturday, while Elon will travel to Charleston Southern for a 4:00 p.m. game on Saturday.