Blue Jays can't rally, get ousted by Guilford

Guilford 80 Johns Hopkins 73

March 04, 2007|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

This time, the hole was just too deep.

A day after overcoming an 18-point deficit to beat Villa Julie, host Johns Hopkins couldn't overcome a 17-point deficit last night as it lost to Guilford, 80-73, in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament.

"It seems like all year we've dug holes for ourselves, but we always play with heart," said Blue Jays senior guard T.J. Valerio. "Today was just too big of a hole to climb out of. One thing about us is that we always play hard until the end. If we're going to go out, I'm glad we went out playing hard."

After trailing 50-33, Hopkins fought back with its long-range shooting. Doug Polster's three-pointer - one of 11 made for the Blue Jays - cut the lead to six with 2:56 left.

Moments later, however, the Quakers' Caleb Kimbrough made a three of his own and teammate Thomas Burge then followed seconds later with a fast-break layup to end any comeback opportunity.

"This team was a much tougher team [than Villa Julie]," said Hopkins coach Bill Nelson, speaking of a Guilford team that scored at least 100 points six times this season, including 130 in a win over Emory & Henry. "We just got too far down."

Guilford (23-4), making its first tournament appearance, advanced to the Sweet 16.

Led by 6-foot-11 center Ben Strong (29 points, nine rebounds), Guilford took control of the game from the early stages. The junior, who had at least a three-inch height advantage over almost every Hopkins defender, scored eight points in the first four minutes to help stake Guilford to a 15-7 lead.

Down by as much as 10, the Blue Jays (24-5) began to climb back with the long-range shooting of Valerio (17 points) and Polster (13), as well as the strong inside play of 6-6 senior Danny Nawrocki, who had 15 rebounds to go with his 17 points.

Late in the first half, the Quakers took control to go up by 13 at halftime.

JOHNS HOPKINS - Kamm 0-0 0-0 0, Valerio 5-20 3-4 17, Morley 1-3 1-5 3, Nawrocki 8-12 1-8 17, Griffin 1-5 5-5 7, O'Connell 3-8 1-2 7, Purcell 0-0 0-0 0, Farber-Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Armen 0-5 2-2 2, Roach 1-2 1-2 4, Baumgartner 0-0 0-0 0, Polster 3-9 4-4 13. Totals 22-64 11-26 73. GUILFORD - Burge 2-2 1-2 5, Kimbrough 3-3 2-2 10, Snipes 5-15 1-2 12, Belkoski 0-3 0-0 0, Strong 11-17 7-11 29, Edmond 0-0 0-0 0, Henson 3-4 3-4 12, Strickland 2-3 1-2 6, Neville 0-1 0-0 0, Sanborn 3-3 0-0 6, Wells 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-51 15-23 80. Half - Guilford 44-31. Rebounds - Guilford 36 (Strong 9), Hopkins 40 (Nawrocki 15). Assists - Guilford 12 (Snipes, Strong 3), Hopkins 14 (Valerio, Nawrocki, Griffin 3). Att-698.

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