Guilford Holds Off Roanoke to Reach ODAC Men's Basketball Tournament Final

Jaylen Gore '20 (left), Carson Long '19 (right) (Andy Gore photos)
Jaylen Gore '20 (left), Carson Long '19 (right) (Andy Gore photos)

 

SALEM, Va. – Senior Carson Long scored a game-high 18 points and made two critical blocks in Guilford College's 67-65 win over Roanoke College in an Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Tournament semifinal Saturday in the Salem Civic Center.

The victory sends the second-seeded Quakers (20-7) into Sunday's 1:00 p.m. ODAC final against top-seeded Randolph-Macon College, a 65-57 winner over Washington and Lee University in Saturday's earlier semifinal. The final will also be played in the Salem Civic Center.

Roanoke (19-8), which defeated Guilford twice in the regular season, overcame a 10-point second-half deficit and led by five with 5:27 left in regulation. The teams traded baskets for the next three minutes before Tripp Greene's fourth 3-pointer of the game gave the Maroons a 63-60 advantage with 2:45 to play.

Guilford's Marcus Curry made two free throws at the other end, followed by a missed 3-pointer by Greene. Guilford's Jaylen Gore drained a trifecta from the top of the key with two minutes left that put the Quakers ahead for good. Roanoke had three shots on the ensuing possession, but Long blocked two of them and Kyler Gregory secured his career- and game-high 15th rebound to finally end the possession. Curry scored on a baseline runner over Greene at the other end, which put the Quakers ahead by four with a minute left.

Dillon Thomas' basket with 49 ticks left got the Maroons back to with two. Guilford ran the clock down at the other end before Gore misfired to give possession back to Roanoke one final time. Following a timeout and Guilford's fifth team foul of the half, the Maroons inbounded to C.J. Miles in the backcourt. The senior all-conference guard drove into the lane where his running jumper hit the back iron as time expired.

Guilford's Curry (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Gregory (10 points, 15 rebounds) both notched double-doubles and helped the Quakers to a commanding 42-28 rebounding edge. The pair also contributed to an 18-5 Quakers' edge in second-chance points and a 32-18 advantage in post scoring. Gore finished with 13 points, 11 in the second half, and had a game-high six assists.

Miles shot 4-of-6 from 3-point land and shared game-high scoring honors (18) with Guilford's Long. Greene, a freshman who played scholastically at Greensboro Day School, finished with 17 points thanks to four 3-pointers. Roanoke's Thomas added 11 points and five assists. Center Josh Freund, the 2018 ODAC Player of the Year, compiled 10 points, 15 rebounds, and five assists.

Coach Tom Palombo's Quakers are ranked fifth in this week's NCAA Division III South Region Poll and making their third ODAC Tournament final appearance. Guilford won the title in 2008, 2010, and 2017.

Guilford dealt Randolph-Macon, the South's top team, one of its two losses this year, 64-63, January 5 in Greensboro. The Yellow Jackets haven't lost since and have a 12-game winning streak entering Sunday's game. Randolph-Macon is ranked fifth in this week's D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll.

Sunday's winner earned the ODAC's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament. The tournament pairings will be announced Monday, February 25 at 12:30 p.m. on www.ncaa.com.