No. 21 Franklin & Marshall Edges Fiesty Men's Basketball, 67-57
SWARTHMORE, Pa. - A valiant effort from the Swarthmore College men's basketball came up just short as No. 21 Franklin & Marshall - slowed down for much of the game by an effective zone defense from the Garnet - pulled away in the second half to defeat Swat 67-57 on Saturday afternoon from Tarble Pavilion.
Sophomore Will Gates led the Garnet (6-17, 3-13)with a 19-point effort, continuing his streak of consecutive games in double-figures (39). Freshman Jordan Federer added 12, sophomore Jordan Martinez scored 11 and freshman Jordan Cheney netted nine points.
F&M's Georgio Milligan scored a game-high 21 points and added seven steals and six assists to lead the Dips (19-4, 14-2). Mike Baker added 10.
Despite the great disparity between the two squads in the Centennial Conference standings, the game was spirited and competitive until the final whistle.
Swarthmore showed that it wasn't going to be a pushover in the opening minutes. Fueled by a hot start from Martinez, who scored seven of the Garnet's first nine points, and a zone defense that seemed to confuse the Diplomats, Swarthmore found itself ahead 9-7 at the 14:39.
After F&M took the lead on the following possession on the three-pointer from Milligan, Gates caught fire to put Swat back on top. The stellar sophomore scored the Garnet's next nine points, with his three-pointer at the 8:03 tying the game 18-18.
Following a pair of buckets from Cheney and Federer, the Garnet found itself on top 22-20 with exactly four minutes to play.
But the Swarthmore lead would be short lived, as the Diplomats' offense finally came to life, finishing the final four minutes of half on a 10-0 run to take a 30-22 lead heading into halftime.
In the second half, the Dips scored the opening the four points of the half to extend the run to 14-0 before the Garnet finally found an answer with a three-pointer from Ryan Carmichael at the 18:18 mark.
The F&M lead would extend to as large as 14 before the Garnet staged a big run of its own. Down 43-29 with just over 14 minutes to play, Swarthmore ran off an 8-0 run over a four-minute span to get right back into the game. A lay-up from Martinez capped the run and made it a 43-37 game with 10:54 to play.
The Garnet got within five points at 49-44 with 7:05 to play following an and-one from Cheney, but that was as close as the Garnet would get.
A three-pointer from F&M's Steve Tolliver at the 5:31 mark put the Dips back on top by double digits at 56-45, and an alley-oop dunk from Milligan following a pair of free throws from Brandson Beckford with 4:27 left to play proved to be the final dagger.
The Franklin & Marshall bench outscored the Garnet's 15-4.
The Diplomats full-court pressure led to 12 steals for the game. Swarthmore won the rebounding battle 35-32.
A large crowd was on hand as the men's basketball program held its annual Alumni game prior to the game.
Swarthmore will celebrate Senior Day when it hosts McDaniel in its home finale on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.