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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Quakers cruise into Final Four

Each player of the Guilford men’s basketball team made his way up the eight-foot ladder to cut down a piece of Guilford basketball history. The team cut down the net after their 90-80 win over Eastern Mennonite University (25-5) in the Elite Eight of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III men’s basketball tournament on March 13.Guilford’s path to the Final Four included an 83-59 win over Christopher Newport University on March 5, an 85-82 win over John Carroll University on March 6, and a 75-68 victory over the College of Wooster on March 12.

The Quakers (30-2) have been led in the tournament by senior guard Clay Henson, who has averaged 19.5 points per game in tournament play, and senior center Tyler Sanborn, who has averaged 20.5 points and 19.8 rebounds per game.

Also stepping up has been junior guard T.C. Anderson, who has lifted the Quakers offensively by hitting clutch shots and shooting 55 percent from beyond the arc.

Guilford avenged the 90-63 thrashing they received from the Runnin’ Royals on Feb. 20 by shooting a season-high 61.4 percent from the field and out-rebounding Eastern Mennonite 41-22.

“We did our job,” said Guilford head coach Tom Palombo. “We had a pretty good combination between our inside game, penetration game, and from the perimeter.”

Sanborn became comfortable in the paint and led the way with 26 points and 14 rebounds for double-double performance number 29 on the season.

“I’m not sure if anybody in the country outside of the ACC would’ve beaten Guilford tonight,” said Eastern Mennonite head coach Kirby Dean. “We didn’t have an answer for Sanborn inside.”

In the game Henson played up to his All-ODAC self and tallied 25 points, four steals, and three assists, while junior forward Martin Stephenson scored a career high 13 points.

Guilford couldn’t silence the high-powered Runnin’ Royal offense that knocked down 15 3-point shots.

Eastern Mennonite junior guard D.J. Hinson broke the school’s three-point shooting record in a game with eight three-point field goals along with 37 points.

“There was nothing we could do about it,” said Palombo. “We just had to hope he missed and get the rebound when he did.”

The Quakers fell behind early as Hinson hit three three-pointers with 13 minutes to go.

Guilford answered with a 14-2 scoring run with 11 minutes to go, all points coming from the hot hand of Henson, who nailed three three-pointers during the run. Guilford would keep the lead for the rest of the game.

“We’ve got some potent offensive weapons,” said Palombo. “It’s just a matter for us to take good shots.”

Guilford shot 70.4 percent from the field in the first half as Sanborn shot six-for-six from the field with 14 points. The Quakers went into the locker room with a 47-40 lead at halftime.

“I think we came out aggressive,” said Palombo. “We established Tyler offensively early, which is what we wanted to do.”

Guilford only shot two-for-ten from beyond the arc in the second half but dominated the paint as Sanborn scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

Johnson closed the gap in the late stages for Eastern Mennonite by scoring four three-pointers in the second half that kept Guilford fans in Ragan-Brown Field House on edge, but it was too little, too late for the ODAC foes.

“Playing in the (ODAC) really helps you,” said Henson. “We really feel like we’re ready for anything.”

Guilford now travels to the Civic Center in Roanoke, Va. for the Final Four, where they will take on northeastern powerhouse Williams College (29-1) today in the national semifinals. Williams entered the tournament as the second overall seed, while Guilford was ranked third. Williams and Guilford are now the highest-ranked teams remaining in the field.

ODAC competitor Randolph-Macon College and fifth-ranked University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point round out the rest of the Final Four field.

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