College Men’s Basketball Final – Guilford 74, Thomas More 54 (NCAA Division III First Round) w/Photos
MARIETTA, OHIO – Guilford College’s Kyler Gregory (Yadkinville, N.C./Starmount) came off the bench to lead the Quakers with 13 points as Guilford advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship with a victory over Thomas More College, 74-54, in the first round hosted by Marietta College.
The Quakers jumped to an 11-0 run to open the first 3:37 of the contest as the Guilford opened the contest sinking their first five baskets. The Saints responded with a 13-5 run to close the lead to three with 12:22 left in the first half as Thomas More sunk three shots from behind the arc during the run.
An Alston Thompson lay-up capped Guilford’s response, a 12-2 run, with 7:53 remaining in the half as the Quakers’ lead grew back to 13. Guilford’s first-half lead grew as large as 15 points with 3:34 remaining off a Jarrod Rogers (Archdale, N.C./Trinity) three-pointer. Carson Long added another three-pointer, placing him in double-figures with 1:34 left in the period, extending the lead back to 14. Thomas More closed the final 1:20 with a string of five-straight points, cutting the lead to nine.
Thompson’s first basket of the second half put Guilford’s post player into double-figures two minutes into the second half to stop a 7-0 Thomas More run and bring the lead back to nine. After the Saints dropped the lead to six, the Quakers countered with a 12-0 run thanks to five points from Gregory in a run spanning a 6:18 stretch to extend the lead to 18.
After Gregory’s 13th point of the game and 11th of the second half with 8:18 remaining, the Saints posted an 8-0 run over the next 3:45 to cut the lead to 12 points. The Quakers countered immediately with a 9-0 run over the next 3:22 as Dominque Henderson capped the run with a three-pointer to propel the Quakers to their largest lead of the contest, 70-49. Thomas More posted a brief 5-0 run to cut the lead down to 16 over a 1:15 span, but the Quakers sealed the win at the foul line to advance to the second round.
Gregory’s 13 points came on five-of-nine shooting, adding three rebounds. Henderson finished the contest with 12 points on four-of-nine shooting with all four baskets coming from three-point range. Long pulled down eight rebounds to go with his 11 points while Zach Houston finished with six points, seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
Ryne Callahan led all scorers with 19 points to boost Thomas More thanks to seven-of-14 shooting. Ralph Stone added 11 points and six rebounds.
The Quakers shot 43.9 percent for the contest compared to 38.5 shooting for the Saints. After shooting 51.9 percent in the first half, the Saints cooled off in the second half as they shot 24 percent. The Quakers shot 40.7 percent in the second half after posting a 46.7 percent effort in the first period. Guilford used 52.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc (12-of-23) to propel their offense while Thomas More shot 37 percent (ten-of-27).
Guilford claimed a 40-26 advantage on the glass thanks to 14 offensive rebounds. The Quakers valued the basketball while forcing 13 Thomas More turnovers, only committing nine miscues. Guilford held a 20-10 edge in the paint while boasting a strong 19-5 advantage in second-chance points.
The Quakers await the winner of the regional’s nightcap matchup between host Marietta and Calvin College for a 7 p.m. contest in the second round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship.
Photos by Andy Gore