Guilford College takes ODAC Title over RMC in Salem

Posted by Andy Durham on February 28, 2010 at 7:20 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

SALEM, Va. – Guilford College clinched its second Old Dominion Athletic
Conference (ODAC) Men’s Basketball Tournament title in three years with an
81-65 victory over Randolph-Macon College Sunday afternoon in the Salem
Civic Center.

With the win, the Quakers (26-2) earn the league’s automatic NCAA Division
III Tournament bid and will make their fourth consecutive national playoff
appearance. Ranked fourth in this week’s D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll, Guilford
improved to 100-18 over the last four years.

Guilford’s T.C. Anderson and Clay Henson both scored 15 points to lead the
Quakers’ balanced scoring effort. Anderson shot five-of-six from the floor
to set his career scoring high for the second time in three days. Henson, an
All-ODAC Tournament selection, scored nine points in the second half and
added a game-high six assists. Tournament Most Valuable Player Tyler Sanborn
added his league-leading 25th double-double of the year with 12 points, a
game-high 12 rebounds and two blocks.

“All the work we’ve put in all year finally paid off,” Sanborn said. “This
is one step closer to where we want to get to. We have to keep working hard
and get ready for what’s coming up.”

Anderson scored six of his 10 first-half points off of breakaways he created
with steals, which helped Guilford open a 10-point lead. Randolph-Macon’s
Eric Pugh made two late three-pointers, which pulled the Yellow Jackets
(22-6) to within 35-31 at halftime.

Pugh knocked down three more threes and Adam Desgain hit another in the
first 3:28 of the second half as Randolph-Macon jumped out to a 48-46 lead.

“We felt like we closed out the first half pretty well, but they shot their
way back into it with a couple of threes at the end,” said Guilford
all-tournament pick Rhett Bonner. “In the second half they got kind of hot
on us. Pugh was really fired up in the second half, but they cooled off a
little bit and we kept rebounding.”

After Randolph-Macon’s Danny Jones tied the game at 50-50 with 13:31
remaining, the Yellow Jackets missed eight of their next nine field goals
and Guilford pulled away with a 13-3 run. Bonner scored four of his 13
points during the run. A Desgain three-pointer with 7:22 left made it a
63-58 game, but Randolph-Macon drew no closer.

As it has all tournament, Guilford received strong bench play and offense
from unlikely sources. Sophomore Brad Monroe contributed eight points, six
rebounds and a block in 21 minutes off the bench. He entered the game with a
2.8 scoring average, but hit for a career-high 11 points in Saturday’s
semifinal win over 11th-ranked Virginia Wesleyan. Tobi Akinsola, averaging
3.1 points per game, also had eight points, matching his total of his
previous nine games.

The 2009-10 Kurt Axe ODAC Player of the Year, Sanborn averaged 13.3 points,
14.0 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in Guilford’s three ODAC Tournament wins. He
joins former teammate Ben Strong ’08 as the Quakers’ two ODAC Tournament
MVPs.

“I get a lot of accolades and a lot of points and rebounds,” Sanborn said.
“But if it wasn’t for Rhett and Clay and what they do, and how everybody
else plays around me, there’s no way I would be able to do what I do. It’s a
really good feeling to have this off our backs. We got it done.”

Pugh finished with a game-high 17 points, five steals and for the 18th-ranked
Yellow Jackets, who await a possible at-large NCAA Tournament berth. Jones
scored 13 points and had five rebounds off the bench. Desgain and Brandon
Braxton both scored 10 points.

Guilford, which placed third in the 2009 NCAA Division III Tournament,
learns of its next opponent Monday (3/1) at 10:00 a.m. when the 61-team
field is announced on NCAA.com. As one of the South region’s top-ranked
teams, Guilford has a chance to host first- and second-round games in the
Ragan-Brown Field House. The Quakers suffered an 89-77 home loss to St.
Mary’s (Md.) College in the first round of the 2008 tournament after winning
the ODAC crown.

“Hopefully we’ll be hosting next week,” Sanborn said. “But in 2008 we hosted
and didn’t play well against St. Mary’s, but I think this year’s going to be
really different. We’re going to come in really prepared and ready to work
hard.”


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