Skip to main content

A Magical Season: Men’s Basketball is NCAA Semifinalist with 26 Wins

Winning an NCAA Division III Tournament sectional championship and reaching the national semifinals for the third time in team history, Guilford’s men’s basketball team had a magical season full of thrills for the campus and the wider community.

Coach Tom Palombo’s Quakers finished 26-5 and won four NCAA games at home before losing a closely contested national semifinal to No. 1-ranked, Old Dominion Athletic Conference rival Hampden-Sydney College (Va.) 62-57 March 14 in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Guilford was led all season by a duo of fifth-year players, Tyler Dearman and Julius Burch, who were teammates since high school at nearby Southern Guilford. Tyler was named an NABC First Team All-American as well as Player of the Year in the region and conference. Julius was an All-Conference selection.

Tyler led the team in scoring at 20 points per game and scored the winning basket with 2.3 seconds remaining in the sectional final against No. 23 Christopher Newport University (Va.), a 50-48 decision March 9. He had 27 in an 82-60 upset of No. 5 Keene State College (N.H.) March 8. Tyler set out the team’s NCAA aspirations in a mid-February interview.

Julius averaged a double-double with 11 ppg and a team-high 10 rebounds per game. He scored a critical, season-high 21 points in the win over Christopher Newport. He became a key leader over five years with the Quakers, as captured in this March interview.

A pair of brothers, junior Luke (9 ppg) and sophomore Gabe (7 ppg) Proctor, also were key contributors. Luke had 15 points on 5 three-pointers in the national semifinal game against Hampden-Sydney. They discussed their basketball journey in this March interview.

Guilford made the most of its stifling defense, allowing a Division III nation-leading 56.3 points per game by its opponents.

Other season highlights:

  • Guilford improved to 20-7 in seven NCAA appearances, all under Coach Palombo since 2006.
  • The Quakers posted their best record since the 2009-10 team went 30-3 and reached the national semifinals (the 2008-09 team finished 26-6 and went 5-1 in the NCAAs, winning the last third-place game ever contested).
  • Only three teams in the program’s recorded history (since 1905) have won more games: the 1969-70 team, 32, the 2009-10 team, 30, and the NAIA champion team of 1972-73, 29.
  • The Quakers won their first nine regular-season games including 83-80 in overtime over No. 19 Emory University (Ga.) at home Nov. 19 and 80-71 over then-No. 2 Hampden-Sydney at home Dec. 2.
  • Guilford finished 15-1 at Ragan-Brown Field House on campus, including four NCAA Tournament wins in front of large, enthusiastic crowds.
  • The Quakers were 13-3 in the ODAC, finishing third behind Hampden-Sydney and No. 4 Randolph-Macon College (Va.), which advanced to the NCAA third round.
  • Coach Palombo moved within two wins of 400 in 21 seasons at Guilford. He has more than 600 wins in his collegiate coaching career.

Read about the remarkable season on the men’s basketball page of the athletics website.

Mar 15, 2024