SALEM, Va. – Carson Long scored a team-high 16 points and made a key steal in Guilford College's 67-64 win over Virginia Wesleyan College Saturday's Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Tournament semifinals at the Salem Civic Center.
The victory sends the top-seeded Quakers (22-5) into the ODAC Tournament final to meet third-seeded Emory & Henry College, a 69-67 winner over Washington and Lee University in Saturday's other semifinal.
The Quakers trailed by as many as 16 points with 2:56 left in the opening half before mounting a rally that continued into the second frame. Long and Zachary Houston made three-pointers and Marcus Curry scored inside as Guilford closed the first half on an 8-0 run to get within 37-29.
Guilford senior Dominique Henderson scored all 14 of his points in the second half, including the frame's first two baskets, which made it a 37-33 game. A Jaylen Gore jumper with 15 minutes left tied the score for the first time since the opening minutes and Alston Thompson's jumper 40 seconds later put Guilford in front, 41-40. Curry's free throw with 13 minutes left capped a 23-3 Guilford run in a 10-minute stretch over both halves.
The teams traded the lead as Henderson and Long made big plays for Guilford and Andre Banks and Khoury Moore delivered for the fifth-seeded Marlins (19-9). Moore's three-pointer opened a 61-57 Virginia Wesleyan cushion with four minutes left, but Henderson answered with back-to-back threes, the second of which put Guilford in front for good, 63-61, with 2:41 remaining.
Banks' triple with 74 ticks left brought the Marlins to within 65-64. Virginia Wesleyan held on the Quakers' ensuing possession, but Banks missed a three with 26 seconds left. Guilford's Gore hit two free throws with 11 seconds remaining, and Long sealed the win by deflecting a Moore pass on Virginia Wesleyan's final possession.
Guilford enjoyed a 46-27 rebounding edge and converted 17 offensive boards into 12 second-chance points. Houston collected a game-high 11 rebounds, and also added seven points, two assists and five steals. He did not turn the ball over in 37 minutes at the point. Curry scored 11 points in 14 minutes off the bench, and Thompson contributed seven points and six rebounds.
Banks led Virginia Wesleyan with 15 points thanks to five three-pointers. Teammate Tim Jones helped Virginia Wesleyan take the early lead with 10 points, but only scored four in the final 34 minutes. Moore scored 11 points, despite one-for-10 shooting from beyond the arc.
Coach Tom Palombo's Quakers are ranked third in this week's NCAA Division III South Region Poll. Guilford is seeking its third ODAC Men's Basketball Tournament title and its first since 2010.