Men's Basketball Takes Down Franklin & Marshall on Senior Day, 73-63 (OT)
SWARTHMORE, Pa. - In front of a packed Tarble Pavilion, the Swarthmore College men's basketball team (6-17 5-11) put together its finest performance of the 2012-13 season, knocking off first-place Franklin & Marshall by a score of 73-63 in overtime on Saturday afternoon.
Junior Joe Keedy was unstoppable in the paint, tying a career-high with 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field and 8-of-10 shooting at the free-throw line. Junior Jay Kober finished with 17 points, including a crucial tip-in off a Keedy missed free throw at the start of overtime. Senior Will Gates scored 16 points and junior Jordan Federer added 11 points, with the duo combining to score nine of the Garnet's 14 points in overtime.
Senior Jon Salandra finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Diplomats (17-6, 12-4), who fall into a first-place tie with Dickinson atop the Centennial Conference standings.
The Garnet played arguably its best defensive game of the season, frustrating the Diplomats from the opening tip. In the first half alone, Swarthmore drew four charges, forced two shot-clock violations and a five-second call. The Garnet also held the Dips' leading scorer Hayk Gyokchyan - who lit up the Garnet for 37 points in the two squads' first meeting - to just two points.
Trailing 59-57 with under one minute to play, the Garnet tied the game thanks to a driving lay-up in the paint from Kober that banked in the basket. In the final 48 seconds of regulation, the Garnet defense stepped up to the task, holding Franklin & Marshall to a pair of missed jumpers to force overtime.
In overtime and with the upset in grasp, Swarthmore could not be stopped. The Dips struck first on Gyokchyan's only two points of the game, but the Garnet responded with the next 11 points of overtime. Kober's tip-in off a Keedy missed free throw made it a 64-61 game with 3:27 to go. After free throws from Federer and Gates made it 67-61, the Garnet sealed the win thanks to one last outstanding play from Keedy. With just over one minute to play, the junior got the ball in transition around the three-point line following a tough pass from Federer at mid-court, weaved through three Diplomat defenders and somehow was able to finish off the lay-up at the rim, sending the Tarble crowd to its feet and sealing the upset win.
Swarthmore set the tone for the game early. Despite falling behind 8-2 at the start of the game, the Garnet responded in a big way, going on a 21-2 run over a 10-minute stretch of the first half to build a 13-point lead. The Dips fought back late in the half, cutting the Swat advantage to 30-23 at the break.
Franklin & Marshall came out of the halftime break energized. The Dips went on a 10-2 run early in the second half to build a five point lead (52-47). Still, Swarthmore fought back to set up the game's dramatic conclusion.
The game was Swarthmore's second-consecutive overtime contest, having lost to Washington College 72-70 on Wednesday. In all, the Garnet has played in an remarkable five overtime games this season, sporting a 2-3 record.
Swarthmore closes out the home campaign on Wednesday when it hosts McDaniel. Tip off is set for 8:00 p.m.