Diplomats Destroy Garnet to Secure Playoff Bye

Diplomats Destroy Garnet to Secure Playoff Bye

LANCASTER, Pa. – J.C. McGrath and Ignas Slyka combined for 45 points to lead Franklin & Marshall to a 93-66 victory over No. 21 Swarthmore in Centennial Conference (CC) action. F&M improved to 18-7, 12-6 CC and secured a bye in the playoffs while the Garnet fell to 20-5, 14-4. 

Senior captains Jared WrightLior Levy and Hunter Eggers played their last game at Mayser and were honored before the contest. 

Both teams struggled in the early minutes, before F&M pulled away and took a 12-point lead, 16-4, on a Slyka triple at 10:44 in the first. Swarthmore slowly chipped away and came within six, 19-13, at 6:19, but the Diplomats countered with seven straight and led 26-13 at 4:13. A three from Jared Wright made it 32-18 at 1:40 and the Diplomats went into the break with a 35-22 advantage. 

Slyka led all scorers in the first with 10 points while J.C. McGrath tallied nine in the opening frame for the Diplomats. 

F&M kept its foot on the gas in the second and increased its lead to 23, 49-26, at 16:05 in the final frame. Swarthmore continued to struggle and F&M took a 74-48 lead at 8:05 on a three from Matthew Tate. F&M continued to lead by at least 20 down the stretch and led by as many as 31 during the final five minutes of action. 

McGrath hit 10-for-10 from the floor for his game-high 24 points to go along with nine boards. Slyka hit 8-of-13 shots and ended with 21 while Brandon Federici netted 12. Eggers chipped in 11 and Wright tallied nine for F&M. 

Cam Wiley had 16 and Chris Bourne ended the day with 15 for Swarthmore. 

F&M outshot Swarthmore 62-46-percent, and converted 14 turnovers into 25 points. 

The Diplomats have secured at least the three seed in the upcoming tournament and have to wait for the outcome of the Hopkins game later to see if they could move to the second seed.