Men’s basketball make final push for playoffs


Andrew Walker

Junior forward Marcus Curry attempts a floater against Bridgewater College on Saturday, January 13, 2018 in the Ragan-Brown Field House. Curry scored nine points in the 67-66 loss to the Eagles. // Photo By Andrew Walker/The Guilfordian

For the first time since 2006, Guilford’s men’s basketball team finds themselves below .500 through 15 regular season contests. Though they cannot be counted out just yet.

The Quakers, who were tabbed first in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference preseason poll and a nationally ranked team at the beginning of the season, are still finding their way in a season that has been overshadowed by disappointment.

Over winter break, the team struggled in non-conference affairs, dropping three straight games. They were overpowered by Emory University, 84-58, and dropped a two-game series as part of the Don Lane Classic to North Park (66-56) and Transylvania (80-77).

However, the team responded big by knocking off No. 18 Skidmore College, 80-77, in front of the home crowd in Greensboro on Dec. 30. First-year guard Joah Logan had a career-high and team-high 22 points in the victory, cashing in five three-pointers.

Junior forward Marcus Curry added 20 points and led all players with eight rebounds. Curry is 12th in the ODAC with 14.9 points per game.

The team dropped a home contest on Jan. 13 against ODAC rival Bridgewater College that went down to the wire. Down 67-66 with under 15 seconds to go, the Quakers missed three opportunities to nail a go-ahead bucket and subsequently fell short. The Quakers defeated the Eagles on the road earlier this season on Dec. 2, 92-86.

Last week’s game counted as Guilford’s second, one-point loss of the season. Their first came early against a top-regional opponent, Concordia University (Tx.), which took the team out of the top 25 poll.

The Quakers allowed the Eagles to shoot 47.6 percent from behind the arc. This has haunted the team all season long, as opposing teams are shooting 39 percent from the three-point line. The Quakers have also given up a conference high 170 three-pointers through all games as of Jan. 14.

The Quakers also struggle to force turnovers, sitting last in the ODAC in this category as well.

Despite where they struggle, the Quakers are still sixth in the league and are still in a good position to fight for a spot in the 2018 ODAC tournament. While they have had their struggles on the perimeter defensively, the Quakers have been very strong in the paint.

Guilford has consistently outrebounded their opponents, and hold opponents to an ODAC-leading 32 rebounds a game. While opponents have shot just over 43 percent on the Quakers, the team is averaging 3.2 blocks a game, fifth-best in the conference.

“(Although) our season has been so inconsistent, our biggest strength is our defense,” said sophomore guard Corey Clemons. “When we are locked in and helping each other on defense, we have the ability to shut teams down.”

Offensively, Guilford has been extraordinarily efficient. They are shooting 47.3 percent from the field and secure 13.1 offensive rebounds a game, both numbers good for second in the ODAC. Additionally, Curry and junior forward Alston Thompson are both shooting 53.7 percent from the field, ranking sixth amongst all ODAC players.

The Quakers return to action Saturday, Jan. 20 where they will travel to face Virginia Wesleyan University, the first of a two-game, regular season series with the Marlins. Guilford’s next home game is Wednesday, Jan. 24, hosting Lynchburg College.