GREENSBORO, N.C. – Sophomore Matt McCarthy scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half to help Guilford College rally past Southern Virginia University, 71-67, Friday in the opening round of the Daly Seven Invitational.
The host Quakers (1-0) overcame a seven-point deficit with eight minutes left to reach Saturday's tournament title game against William Peace University. The Pacers (1-0) used a second-half rally of their own to win the first men's basketball game in school history, 77-74, over Johnson & Wales (N.C.) University earlier Friday.
Southern Virginia held a 36-35 lead at the end of a tight first half that saw nine ties and six lead changes. The Knights (0-1) continued their hot shooting and strong rebounding to gradually open a 58-51 edge with 8:17 remaining. The Quakers clamped down on defense and got big baskets from Will Freeman, Jake Hopkins and McCarthy to get back in the game. Guilford took the lead for good when Josh Pittman threaded a long bounce pass through the lane to Jarred Hinton, who laid the ball in for a 65-64 Quakers' lead with 1:54 remaining.
McCarthy made four free throws in the final 74 seconds to help seal the victory. Jonathan Jacobson's three-pointer with 1:01 remaining was one of only three field goals scored by the Knights in the game's final 8:45. After falling behind by seven points, Guilford closed the game on a 20-9 run that featured seven McCarthy points and six by Freeman.
Brothers Jonathan and Isaac Jacobson shared game-high scoring honors with 20 points apiece. Casey Nye added 16 for the Knights, who held a commanding 41-26 rebounding edge. Wesley Evans had a game-high seven boards and the Jacobsons both had six caroms apiece.
Pittman paced four Quakers in double-figures with 15 points and shared game-high honors with five assists. Hopkins (11 points) and Hinton (10 points, 4 assists) both contributed career-high scoring totals. Guilford turned the ball over only five times, and cashed 17 Knights' miscues into 25 points.
Guilford's win sets up an intriguing title game as Quakers' head coach Tom Palombo goes up against former protégé Claude Shields, who left Guilford a year ago to start the men's basketball team at Peace. The young Pacers showed maturity beyond their years to overcome a 15-point halftime deficit for their first win in school history.
Antonio Hinnant sparked the rally with 15 of his game-high 19 points in the second half. Teammate Christian Gray tallied nine of his 12 points in the second half, including eight straight during a decisive 18-3 run midway through the frame. Gaven Allen also scored 12, eight in the second half. His two free throws with 2:02 remaining broke the game's seventh and final tie. Blake Gilley added 13 points and eight boards. He and Allen shared team-high rebounding honors.
Michael Daniel led Johnson & Wales (1-6) with 18 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Robbie Sterling finished with 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Johnson & Wales plays Southern Virginia Saturday (11/17) at 1:00 p.m. in the tournament consolation game.