A Season of Firsts
A picture is worth a thousands words. Action shots below will show you the truth of that statement. While you will undoubtedly enjoy the pictures, you may also take pleasure in some of our statistics. As a wise coach I know once said, "statistics don't show everything, but they show a lot." The most impressive Swarthmore Basketball stats from this season: most wins in program history (23). First Centennial Conference regular season title. First conference tournament title. First NCAA tournament appearance. First NCAA tournament victory. First conference Player-of-the-Year. First All-American. First in the country in rebounding margin (and second across all divisions only to the University of North Carolina). First time ranked in the Top 25 (the title above should have warned you there would be a lot of "first" references). Two all conference performers. Second in the country in blocked shots and sixth in field goal percentage defense.
We did not, however, reach these heights on our own and, while it obviously deserves more than the following blurb, our players and coaches would like to thank everyone who helped make this season such a huge success. Every member of our team is well aware that our accomplishments were only part of a cumulative group effort, and we are incredibly grateful for the support we received. To our team managers, athletic trainers, athletic department and campus community members, alumni, families, friends, and fans: thank you for everything! We could not have achieved what we did without your hard work, inspiration, and unwavering support. Please enjoy the pictures and highlight videos below as a very small token of our thanks...
Centennial Conference Championship
For two days Tarble Pavilion was the center of the Centennial basketball world as Swarthmore hosted the conference semifinals and final. In their semifinal matchup, the Garnet squared off against Ursinus in front of a raucous home crowd. The hosts came out hot and led by eight points at half. Tough defense and a +20 rebound margin allowed the Garnet to extend the lead in the second half, leading to an 86-66 victory. Five players scored in double figures, with Robbie Walsh '18 recording a double-double with 11 points, 10 boards, and two blocks.
The next day, Swarthmore faced Dickinson in the championship game. The home crowd was even larger and more electric than the night before, spurring their team to a fast start. Dickinson countered with some hot shooting from behind the three-point line and led by four at halftime. The visitors extended their lead to eleven with just over ten minutes to play in the game, but, showing the tough defense and quick-scoring punch that defined their season, the Garnet held Dickinson to just 33% shooting in the second half to re-take the lead and hold on for the 68-64 victory.
NCAA National Tournament
In their first NCAA tournament game in program history Swarthmore faced the College of Staten Island, and the Garnet did not waste any time leaving their mark. CSI was riding a 15-game win streak, but Swarthmore started the game on a 17-4 run and never looked back. Walsh recorded his second double-double in as many weekends with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Sam Lebryk '17 was perfect from beyond the arc, going 4-for-4 to finish with 12 points. The lead grew to 27 on an Andrew Kaufmann '18 three-pointer late in the second half, before finally ending with a score of 86-61.
Advancing to the second round, Swarthmore hosted second-ranked Christopher Newport. It was back-and-forth affair early, but CNU went on a late run to take a 14-point halftime lead. Swarthmore closed the gap to four points in the second half, but was not able to get any closer. Cam Wiley '19 scored a game-high 22 points and Zack Yonda '18 and Henry Cousineau '19 each tallied 15. Swarthmore shot 49% from the field against the country's #1 defense, but it wasn't enough to advance.