Guilford Rolls Past Sewanee in NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament Opener

Marcus Curry '19 (Carlos Morales, Altasky Photo)
Marcus Curry '19 (Carlos Morales, Altasky Photo)

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Marcus Curry led five Quakers in double-figure scoring in Guilford College's 97-50 win over the University of the South (Sewanee) in Friday's first round of the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament.

The win sends Guilford (22-7) into a second-round contest against Wittenberg University (24-5), a 100-88 winner over Emory University earlier Friday in Guilford's Ragan-Brown Field House. Guilford will host the second-round game Saturday (3/2) at 7:00 p.m.

The Quakers raced to a 56-30 halftime lead on the strength of 9-of-14 (64.3%) 3-point shooting in the opening half. Guilford's Joah Logan made three 3-pointers in the first half and joined Curry as the Quakers' top scorer after 20 minutes with 11 points. Kyler Gregory scored five of his 13 points in the game in the opening two-plus minutes as Guilford score the game's first 11 points.

Cam Caldwell finally got the Tigers (22-7) on the board at the 17:12 mark, but the damage was done and the tone was set. Playing before a boisterous crowd of over 1,200 people, Guilford gradually extended its early 11-point advantage with highly accurate outside shooting. When Sewanee tried to get back into the game, another Quaker delivered a clutch basket, often from long range.

The second half featured more of the same as the Quakers' lead swelled to 39 with 1:57 left in regulation. Guilford was able to rest many regulars with little difference as the Quakers' reserves outscored their Sewanee counterparts, 34-12.

Curry made 7-of-8 shots from the floor, including all three 3-pointers, for a game-high 17 points. Logan shot 4-for-4 from distance and netted 14 points in just 15 minutes. Gregory collected his eighth double-double of the season with 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Carson Long and Liam Ward both chipped in 10 points. Guilford enjoyed a 51-24 edge in rebounds and limited Sewanee to 18.2 percent (6 of 33) 3-point shooting.

Jordan Warlick scored a team-high 14 points for Sewanee, but only two after halftime. Hunter Buescher finished with 11 points and Tigers' leading scorer Luke Smith scored nine points, over 11 below his season average.

Guilford's win sets up a meeting with Wittenberg, which outlasted Emory University, 100-88, in an up-tempo contest. The Tigers had three students score in double figures to win their 11th straight game. Jake Bertemes led the way with 22 points, followed by Connor Seipel's 21, which included 15 in the second half. James Johnson made all four 3-point shots and finished with 20 points. Wittenberg shot 59.3 percent from the floor, including 11-of-20 (55%) from 3-point land.

Emory (20-6) had a five-point lead just over seven minutes into the game before the Tigers awoke. Wittenberg outscored the Eagles, 25-10, over a seven-minute span midway through the first half. The Tigers made four 3-pointers in the run, two by Rashaad Ali-Shakir. Bertemes' final hoop of the half opened a 12-point spread before the lead settled at 51-41 at the break.

Seipel scored just six first-half points due to two early fouls, but the 6-6, 240-pound junior got on track in the second half when he made 5-of-6 shots and all five free throws.

Romin Williams' 3-pointer with 12:41 left in regulation got Emory to within 64-59, but Wittenberg reeled off the next seven points and did not look back. The Eagles shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half (18-of-36) and just under 56% (33-59) for the game, but the Tigers shot 57.1 percent from the floor and made 15-of-17 free throws in the second half.

Emory's Matthew Schner scored a game-high 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the floor with four 3-pointers. Williams finished with 17 and Lawrence Rowley added 15 for Emory, which lost for just the second time when scoring at least 88 points.

Saturday's second-round game between Guilford and Wittenberg begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Ragan-Brown Field House. Tickets may be purchased from 2-4 p.m. in the Ragan-Brown Field House lobby and when the gates open at 5:30 p.m. Current Guilford students with a valid ID can stop by Ragan-Brown between 2 and 4 to pick up a free ticket.