Men’s basketball advances in ODAC Tourney

Junior Carson Long defends the ball seconds before scoring against Shenandoah University. Long added his ninth double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds. // Photo by Fernando Jiménez/The Guilfordian

Guilford College men’s basketball team beat Shenandoah University in the first round of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament, 89-78. Guilford advances to the quarterfinals on Friday, Feb. 23 and will face Washington and Lee University.

This was the second time in four days that Guilford beat Shenandoah. On Feb. 17, Guilford won 89-57 in the Senior Day game.

On Tuesday, the Quakers started the game slow going down 7-2 in the first three minutes. Junior forward Marcus Curry went down hard after chasing for a ball and had to have the trainers come out and look at him, but luckily for the Quakers he came back in a few minutes later.

After the Quakers tied it up, the game went back and forth. Junior forward Carson Long and sophomore guard Corey Clemons hit 3-pointers to put the Quakers up twice, but Shenandoah responded to tie the game up again. The game went back and forth for the rest of the half as each team made a shot after the other took the lead.

With just over two minutes remaining and the Quakers trailing, 35-34, Clemons tipped the ball away from the Hornets and took it to the other end to take the lead, which Guilford never relinquished for the rest of the game.

The Quakers were up 38-35 at halftime, a very close score for the game between the sixth seed and 11th seed. Guilford had been up 35-18 at half in their last meeting. A big difference for Shenandoah was that they shot 41.2 percent from the field in the first half, compared to only 22.6 percent in the Feb. 17 game.

Senior guard Jonah Meredith led the offense for Shenandoah with 10 points and sophomore Cristopher Chaney added eight points off the bench. The team also made 6-of-14 3-pointers to keep the game close.

Senior guard Jarrod Rogers scored eight points for the Quaker offense in the first half, on two 3-pointers and a jump shot. Clemons scored eight points off the bench. Guilford shot 45.5 percent from the field and had eight players score.

After halftime, the Quakers came out shooting well, with Curry and Rogers scoring the first eight points of the half.

First-year guard Will Leckonby made two 3-pointers in the second half after missing all his attempts in the first half.

Rogers continued to drive to the basket and make layups while Curry put up 17 points in the half. The Quakers offense was rolling, and partially through the half they were 14-of-21 from the field.

Shenandoah could not stop the Quakers on offense and did not put up enough points on offense to keep the game close. After only scoring three points in the first half, senior guard Kwa McDonald had 14 points in the second half. He made four 3-pointers, but it was not enough to keep the game close.

Guilford did an amazing job crashing the boards in the second half, collecting 25 rebounds to only 12 for Shenandoah.

The second half for Shenandoah could be summed up by the last minute of the game. McDonald attempted to dunk the ball, but got rejected by the rim. Then as the buzzer sounded, senior guard Dominic Steward made a 3-pointer.

The final score was 89-78, Guilford scoring the same as last Saturday, but allowing 21 more points.

While Guilford was shooting well for most of the game, they struggled with free throws from start to finish. They only made four of eight in the first half and got 10-of-16 in the second half. They shot 58.3 percent from the charity stripe in the game. Curry made 7-of-10, but Clemons could not make a free throw, only making one out of his six attempts.

Shenandoah’s 15 3-pointers could not get them the victory as Guilford shot 52.3 percent from the field.

The Quakers won the rebounding battle 50-31, with junior forward Carson Long getting 15 rebounds. Long also added in 13 points for his ninth double-double of the season.

Curry and Rogers scored a game-high with 22 points apiece. Rogers’ 22 points are a career-high for the senior in what will be his final home game of his career unless Guilford wins the ODAC tournament and hosts games during the NCAA tournament.

Guilford has a 1-1 record against Washington and Lee this season. The Quakers lost 94-90 on Nov. 29 when Guilford blew a 49-34 halftime lead. On Jan. 27, Guilford beat the Generals, 81-70. Curry scored 17 points and five other Quakers were in double-digits.

Washington and Lee has the top scorer in the ODAC. Senior forward Clayton Murtha averages 19.2 points per game. In both games against Guilford, Washington and Lee has made 12 3-pointers.

This matchup will be one that is certainly going to be interesting. While Guilford is the sixth seed, they have had some success against the top seeds. The Quakers have a target on their back as the other team do not want them to win back-to-back ODAC tournaments.

Will Guilford advance to the semifinals to try and continue its defense of the tournament championship? Or will the Generals march by the Quakers and end the season for Guilford?

The Quakers tip off against the Generals on Feb. 23 at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Virginia at 8:00 p.m.