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Western Carolina 69, Elon 65

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- Nick Aldridge scored 20 points and Negus McKenna added 18 as Western Carolina defeated Elon 69-65 in a first-round game in the Southern Conference tournament on Wednesday.

The No. 7 seed Catamounts (11-19) advance to meet second-seeded Appalachian State in Thursday's quarterfinals.

Western Carolina led 36-34 at halftime after McKenna buried a 3-pointer from the corner.

Following three lead changes early in the second half, the Catamounts took the lead for good at 48-46 as Aldridge drove the lane for a layup with just under 12 minutes remaining.

The Phoenix (7-23) pulled within two late in the game, but could never regain the lead.

Western Carolina shot 49 percent from the field.

Brett James scored 21 for Elon while Brian Waters added 17 and LeVonn Jordan put in 11.

The Phoenix lost a first round game for the first time since joining the conference four seasons ago.