GUILFORD SECURES TOP SEED FOR ODAC MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNEY
Greensboro, N.C. — Guilford College secured its first top seed for Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Tournament Wednesday night with a 65-52 win at league-rival Washington and Lee University. Senior Ben Strong (Chapel Hill, N.C./Chapel Hill) notched his league-leading 16th double-double of the year with 23 points and 12 rebounds as the Quakers swept the season series with the Generals and won their 12th straight game.
The win gives Guilford its 11th 20-win season and first regular-season ODAC crown. The Quakers open play in the eight-team ODAC Tournament Feb. 29 at 1:00 p.m. versus the tourney’s eighth seed in the Salem (Va.) Civic Center. Guilford’s 15 ODAC victories matches the school standard set by last year’s club.
Guilford (20-4, 15-2 ODAC) is ranked 13th in this week’s D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll and third in the NCAA Division III South Region rankings released today.
Strong, the reigning ODAC Player of the Week and NCAA Division III Player of the Year, had 19 points and nine rebounds by halftime, which helped the guests to a 29-24 edge at the break.
While the first half featured six ties and six lead changes, Guilford controlled play for most of the second period. A 16-4 Quakers’ run early in the period opened a 46-30 margin with 8:59 left. Junior Isaiah Goodman (Richfield, Minn./Holy Angels) drained two three pointers during a 16-6 Generals’ spurt that made it a 54-48 game with 66 seconds left in regulation. Washington and Lee drew no closer as Guilford’s T.C. Anderson (Morrisville, N.C./Green Hope) and Eric Belkoski (Rockingham, N.C./Richmond Senior) combined to make 11-of-12 free throws in the final 55 seconds.
Belkoski joined Strong as the Quakers’ double-figure scorers with 12 points. Sophomore Tyler Sanborn (Elkin, N.C./Elkin) added six points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots. The Quakers shot just 40.4 percent from the floor, but won the battled of the boards, 42-33, and held the homestanding Generals to 33.3 percent field-goal shooting.
Senior Greg Bienemann (Chatham, N.J./Chatham) totalled 17 points and eight boards in the final home game of his illustrious career. Junior guard Chris McHugh (Chatham, N.J./Chatham) added 15 points and shared game-high honors with four assists. Senior teammate Femi Kusimo (Cross Lanes, W. Va./Charleston Catholic) had four points, four assists and a game-best 13 rebounds.
The Quakers puts its longest winning streak since 1974-75 on the line and closes the regular season Saturday (2/27) at 3:00 p.m. versus visiting Emory & Henry College. Washington and Lee closes the regular season at Bridgewater College Saturday (2/27) at 7:00 p.m.