GREENSBORO, N.C. — James Smith Jr.’s 3-point field goal with 8:07 remaining proved to be the difference maker as Ferrum College’s men’s basketball team earned its first road victory this season in Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) play, 60-53 over Guilford (North Carolina) College.
The Panthers (5-6 in the ODAC, 10-10 overall) squared their overall record with the win, their second this season over the Quakers (6-6 in the ODAC, 14-7 overall), the conference’s reigning champion and its preseason title favorite.
Guilford is a year removed from an appearance in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournament.
Ferrum is 4-1 against teams that qualified for the Division III tournament last year — two wins over Guilford, one each over Sewanee (Tennessee) the University and Hood (Maryland) College and a loss to Randolph-Macon College.
Also, the win is a significant one for third-year Panthers bench boss Tyler Sanborn, who defeated his alma mater for the first time in Guilford’s gymnasium (Ragan-Brown Fieldhouse) as a head coach.
“This was a great team win. It was grind-it-out the whole game. It was not pretty, but I’m glad we were able to get it done,’’ Sanborn said.
The Panthers’ 60 points are the fewest they’ve scored in a victory this season and the 53 points they allowed are the fewest of the campaign.
Neither team managed to reach the 40-percent mark in field-goal accuracy — Ferrum was 21 of 54 (38.9 percent) from the field, while Guilford was 20 of 59 (33.9 percent).
“Our efforts defensively and on the glass in the second half were the differences (in the game). I’m proud of our fight,’’ Sanborn said.
Ferrum has reached the double-figure mark in victories for the first time since 2017 with its second win in a row, both in conference play.
Prior to Wednesday, the Panthers had lost league road games to Virginia Wesleyan University, Bridgewater College, Randolph-Macon, the University of Lynchburg and Hampden-Sydney College.
Smith’s 3-pointer broke a 45-45 stalemate and ignited a 10-1 surge that produced a 55-46 lead with 4:18 to play after Rashad Reed swished a 3-pointer.
The count was 58-49 following a Kajuan Madden-McAfee trey with 2:40 to play and Ferrum’s lead reached double-digits, 60-50, when Carrington Young converted a lay-up with 55 seconds showing.
Young’s deuce accounted for the Panthers’ last points of the game. The Quakers tallied their final points when Jaylen Gore completed a three-point play with 41 seconds left.
Guilford led at halftime by two points, 31-29, but the Panthers erased that deficit by outscoring the Quakers 31-22 in the second half.
Only eight players saw action for Ferrum and four scored in double figures.
Reed, who played all 40 minutes, tallied a game-best 19 points on a 7 of 10 shooting display; he was 2 of 5 from 3-point range.
Reed, a senior, continues his rise on the program’s all-time scoring list — he has 1,150 career points to his credit.
Madden-McAfee, who played 39 minutes, and Young, who played 34, each scored 13 points.
Both were one rebound shy of completing double-doubles. All nine of Madden-McAfee’s rebounds were defensive ones, while seven of Young’s nine rebounds were taken off the defensive glass.
Young was 6 of 10 from the field, 1 of 1 from 3-point range. Also, he passed out three assists and claimed three steals, both team-best totals.
Smith came off the bench to score 10 points. All three of his field goals were 3-pointers and he made one free throw.
Starters Kyler Gregory (13 points) and Liam Ward (12 points) combined to produce 25 points for the Quakers, who were three points shy of placing two other players in double figures: Jorden Davis (nine points) and Gore (eight points).
Ferrum scored 10 of the game’s first 14 points and Reed netted five of those.
Gregory completed a double-double for the Quakers by corralling a game-best 11 rebounds.
Guilford finished the game with advantages in rebounds (47-38), assists (12-8) and fast-break points (6-4).
Ferrum held edges in points off turnovers (9-7), second-chance points (12-10) and bench points (13-11) at game’s end.
Points in the paint were even at 24.
The Panthers forced 13 turnovers and committed nine.
Ferrum begins a two-game home stand with Saturday’s ODAC matinee against Shenandoah University.
Tip off at William P. Swartz Gymnasium is 2 p.m.