Guilford Downs #17 Wittenberg to Advance in NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tourney

Guilford advances to the NCAA Division III Tournament sectional round (Carlos Morales, Altasky)
Guilford advances to the NCAA Division III Tournament sectional round (Carlos Morales, Altasky)
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GREENSBORO, N.C. – Kyler Gregory scored a game-high 19 points and Jaylen Gore added 16 in Guilford College's 70-61 win over Wittenberg University Saturday in an NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament second-round game.

With the victory, Guilford (23-7) advances to the tournament's sectional round for the first time since 2010 and will face the University of St. Thomas (Minn.), a 70-58 Saturday winner over defending national champion Nebraska Wesleyan University, at a site to be determined.

Led by Gregory (11 rebounds) and Marcus Curry (14 points, 12 rebounds), Guilford dominated the battle of the boards, especially in the second half. One of Division III's top rebounding teams, the Quakers outrebounded the Tigers (24-6) by a 26-10 margin in the second half and 46-25 for the game. Guilford corralled 15 offensive rebounds to Wittenberg's three, which helped the hosts own a 22-3 edge in second-chance points. The Quakers also outscored Wittenberg in the paint, 34-16.

Guilford scored the first six points and led for most of the game. Sparked by Gore's 11 first-half points, the Quakers had a 32-28 halftime lead. The margin grew to six early in the second half before Wittenberg worked its way back with big shots by Rashaad Ali-Shakir and Jake Betermes. Betermes' three-pointer with 7:18 left in regulation tied the score for the second and final time at 53-53. Gore answered at the other end with a three-pointer that triggered an 8-0 run that put Guilford ahead for good.

Joah Logan's three-pointer with 4:31 left capped the run and opened a 61-53 margin. Mitch Balser's three-pointer got the Tigers to within 61-58 two minutes later. Curry scored a traditional three-pointer on Guilford's next possession, which Gregory kept alive with an offensive board. After Gore's third steal of the night, Gregory followed a Gore miss with a two-handed dunk that brought the home crowd to its feet and made it a 66-58 game with 70 seconds remaining.

Curry scored all of his 14 points in the second half and notched his sixth double-double of the season. Gregory registered his team-leading ninth double-double of the year and his second in as many nights. Joah Logan finished with eight points and Liam Ward had six off the bench.

James Johnson led Wittenberg with 15 points and Betermes finished with 13, 11 in the second half. Leading scorer Connor Seipel was held to 10 points, over eight below his season average, and led Wittenberg with nine rebounds.

Wittenberg was ranked 17th in the most recent Top 25 Poll. Guilford is 5-0 against nationally ranked teams this season.