It was just like the old days back when the Guilford College Quakers used to pack the Alumni Gym(they called it the old Cracker Box) out off of West Friendly Avenue and New Garden Road. The only difference was this time the scene was about 35 years later and the location was the Hanes Gym on the Greensboro College campus.
You could almost see former GC Hornet players running down the court, there goes Clarence Caldwell, Calvin Hunt, Dean Oldham, Stan Morgan, Freddy Johnson, and Gary Thomas. Guilford would fight back with M.L. Carr, Jerry Crocker, and Tom Ennis but with Guilford in the house and it being 1972 you might see Gene Littles or Tommy Cole, or Dwight Durante, or even Henry Logan come running up court in a push for the NAIA District 26 crown.(Quaker Hall of Fame coach Jack Jensen was at the game and is in great shape, he could still run the court if he had to.)
The Hanes House was rockin’ and the Greensboro College Pride were shockin’ the nation’s 3rd best team. Last night the Guilford College Quakers didn’t look like the third best squad in DIII. That didn’t really matter to Greensboro College because they were a Pride team primed to pull off the big upset no matter where Guilford was coming in at.
The Quakers were leaving Hanes Gym with a 71-66 loss looking back at them in their rear view mirror. Turnovers killed Guilford and I counted at least 3 unforced turnovers that came late in the contest and that helped to destroy the Quakers mission of winning and staying unbeaten for the rest of 2007. Guiford out-rebounded Greensboro 38-30 but the GC Pride hit 15 of 18 shots at the foul line.
Greensboro College was also very effecitive from 3-point land going 10-23 from behind the arc, while Guilford was just 5-15. Guiford put a 34-33 lead up on the board at halftime but the Pride led by RJ Smith and Bruce Zamuel came roaring back.
Smith led the Pride in scoring with 22 points(4-7 on 3’s) and Zamuel added 17, going 3-4 from three point range. Big Ben Strong was big and strong for the Quakers with 28 big points and 12 strong boards but Big Ben didn’t have enough help. Clay Henson was hot early but cooled off after going 3-6 on 3-pointers and finishng with 11 points. Ben Strong has a steady workman-like approach to the game and shows very little emotion and that keeps him in the game without too many highs and lows with the exception of time spent in those particular post areas.
Greensboro College coach Bryan Galuski told Brian Joura of the News and Record that the crowd was a factor and he, Galuski, compared the setting to a Division I game.
Galuski added, “I’m a big proponent for having the game on campus, it’s an electric atmosphere. This was a college basketball game. This is what you watch on television on Saturday and Sunday. My hat’s off to the adminstration for making it happen.”
I was thinking the same thing as I was leaving Hanes Gym last night. The atmosphere and the electricity throughout the gymnasium were at a level that we have not seen around here in many years.
If I were Kim Strable and his Greensboro College athletic staff next time I would have the fans bring a toy or have them donate a couple of dollars at the door to the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club on Neal Street. This is a great event and since the fans all get in FREE why not make it fundraiser like they do with the annual Soup Bowl.( by the way, the Quaker students were showing off the trophy last night at the basketball game)
Guilford could do the same thing when the game is played at the Ragan-Brown Fieldhouse on the Quaker campus. Even if Guilford charges for admission they could still institute the Toy Drive or collect some money for the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club at Christmas. If 850 fans showed up and they gave $2.00 each then that’s $1,700 for the kids toys at Christmas. Your telling me a college student can’t afford two bucks when their parents are sending them off to school at a cost of 30 to $50,000 dollars a year?
What we saw last night at Hanes Gym was a possible foreshadowing of the coming year. Greensboro College will get improved play from Adam Nicholson and Adam Powell and the Pride will see the return of injured Michael McDuffie. Guilford will have to get more help for Big Ben Strong across the board and coach Tom Palombo may have to blow his stack. Tom looked pretty calm last night, I thought he might get a little crazier, Galuski sure did. Greensboro College AD Kim Strable may have to start painting his bald head for every home game and SID Bob Lowe, his assistant Wes, and Danny Mackie all need to fasten their seatbelts with hopes that this might be the year that Greensboro College takes over the Gate City.
Last night’s final score:Greensboro College 71-Guilford College 66