Sweet 16 Bound!  Guilford College advances, beating Penn St. Harrisburg 76-59

Guilford College is headed to the Sweet 16 after knocking off Penn St.  Harrisburg wire-to-wire 76-59.  The Quakers started the game on a 7 point run and never looked back, leading by as many as 24 in the first half.  Guilford out-rebounded the Nittany Lions 44-23, allowing the Quakers to score 24 second chance points to go along with shooting 31% from beyond the arc.  Tyler Dearman and Luke Proctor each scored 17 while Rob Littlejohn added 10.  Here are my three takeaways:

  1. On paper, Guilford was outsized.  Glad that was just on paper.  Guilford tracked down 22 offensive rebounds and converted them into 24 points.  The big men of Penn St. Harrisburg could not stop the athleticism of Julius Burch or Tyler Dearman who each had 5 offensive rebounds for Guilford.  Tyler Dearman after the game, “I thought we did outstanding on the glass, they were really big at multiple positions. As a team, we practice all year long, every day, rebounding is an emphasis for us and I think it showed tonight.”
  2. Aggressive shooting, solid defense.  Guilford started hot, connecting from deep early and often in the first half.  Some of that came on shots early in the possession.  Luke and Gabe Proctor set the tone early as they connected on 4 first half three’s.  Luke Procter got the scoring going and finished with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Against Berry College on Friday night the defense struggled to get stops.  Tonight the Quakers forced 13 turnovers and converted those into 22 points.  Coach Tom Palombo after the game, “We need all of our guys to be offensively aggressive.  Defensively, and offensively, we don’t just rely on Julius or Tyler, but everybody gets involved sharing the ball.  Just a really good team effort tonight from everybody.”
  3. Connected, cool and composed.  The near sell-out crowd in the packed, loud, and often wild Ragan-Brown Field House, saw the  Quakers play cool and controlled.   Guilford showed experience and leadership on both sides of the ball.  Taking the extra pass to find open shooters, limiting turnovers and fouls and finally connecting on open shots, Guilford controlled the game to advance to the round of 16.   Coach Palombo after the game “I’m proud of the steals early and the made shots. Defensively we were sound. Being at home, playing in front of the home crowd, tonight and last night was great. I just really love that. I am so happy and excited for this team, this community, that we have more basketball to play.  The leadership, the teamwork, it was on display tonight.  Really cool to show what this team is capable of and play our game.”

Complete game story to follow.