Men's Basketball Defeats Haverford in Thriller, 62-59
SWARTHMORE, Pa. - Junior Jay Kober finished with 17 points, none bigger than a pair of crucial free throws with seven seconds remaining to play, as the Swarthmore College men's basketball team (5-13, 4-7) hung on to defeat rival Haverford 62-59 on Wednesday evening from a packed Tarble Pavilion.
The 163rd meeting between the two arch-rivals was a barnburner, with the Fords (5-11, 3-8) storming back from a double-digit deficit in the final five minutes of play. Down 60-59 and under 15 seconds to play, the Fords had the ball with a chance to take its first lead since the opening tip-off. Senior Cam Baker's pull-up jumper from the free-throw line came up short, giving the ball back to the Garnet with 6.9 seconds to play. Following Kober's two free-throws, the Fords had a chance to send the game to overtime, but Lucas Cipriano's three-point attempt from the right wing hit front iron as time expired.
Senior Will Gates finished with 17 points and moved into second place all-time for career points at Swarthmore (1,569). Junior Joe Keedy added a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) and sophomore Karl Barkley added 14 points on four three-pointers. Junior Jordan Federer dished out a game-best six assists.
Haverford's Brett Cohen led all scorers with 19 points while adding 11 rebounds. Cam Baker finished with 13 points while James Levine added 11 points off the bench.
If it weren't for an uncontested basket two seconds after the tip-off, the Garnet would have led wire-to-wire. After following into a 2-0 hole, Swarthmore responded with a 9-0 run over the next four minutes, setting the tone for the game.
Behind a defensive effort that held the Fords to just 33 percent shooting for the half and four three-pointers from Barkley, Swarthmore held a 31-26 advantage going into the break.
The Garnet's lead blossomed to as large as 13 points midway through second half following another 9-0 run. Fueled by triples from Keedy and Kober on that run, Swarthmore held a 50-37 lead with 9:32 to play.
The Garnet maintained a double-digit lead until the final five minutes of the game. Ahead 58-48 with just over five minutes to go, the Garnet offense grinded to a halt at the worse possible time - not scoring a field goal for over four minutes - to allow the Fords to crawl back into the game.
Following back-to-back jumpers from Baker, Haverford was down just 58-56 with 1:36 to go in the game. On the ensuing possession, Gates ended Swat's scoring drought with a clutch jumper from just outside the left block to make it a two-possession game.
But the Fords would not go away easily. Cohen converted an and-one basket on the other end of the floor, making it a 60-59 game with just 49 seconds to go. Fortunantly, Swarthmore's defense came through in the Fords' final two possessions to close out the win.
A big difference in the outcome of the game was the three-point shot; Swarthmore hit nine of 25 triples compared to just one of nine for Haverford.
The Fords out-shot the Garnet (45 percent to 37 percent), but Swarthmore was much more efficient at the free-throw line (11-of-16 compared to 6-of-13).
The win is the Garnet's second-consecutive in the series following 10-consecutive defeats.
The Garnet are back in action from Tarble on Saturday against Gettysburg. Tip is set for 3:00 p.m.