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