SWARTHMORE, Pa. – No. 24 Franklin & Marshall suffered a heart-breaking 58-56 defeat to No. 12 Swarthmore in Centennial Conference (CC) men's basketball action Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Garnet secured the top-seed in next weekend's CC Championship and improved to 21-4, 15-3 CC with their first win over F&M in five years.
F&M dropped to 20-5, 14-4 with the loss and will be the second seed in the CC Tournament. The Diplomats will face third-seed Johns Hopkins in next weekend's semifinal at Swarthmore. Details will be posted Monday on GoDiplomats.com
Brandon Federici finished with 14 points to become the first player in the F&M and Centennial history to reach 2,000 points and one of just 120 players from all of Division III since 1975 to hit two grand.
F&M took an early edge, 9-2, two minutes into the game and a J.C. McGrath jumper at 12:20 made it 15-8. The Garnet came within three, 17-14, before the Diplomats went on a 7-2 spurt to take a 24-16 lead at 6:31. Swarthmore stayed close and came within three, 26-23, at 2:54 and both teams netted five each down the stretch with F&M leading 31-28 at the break.
Swarthmore scored five straight to start the second and took a 33-31 lead two minutes into the half. The teams exchanged leads over the next five minutes with the Garnet clinging to a 40-38 edge at 11:34. F&M went ahead briefly on a Federici triple, 41-40, but the Garnet quickly regained the lead and the Diplomats eventually tied the game at 44-44 with a little less than nine minutes to play.
Swarthmore put together a 12-5 run over the six minutes for a 56-49 lead at 2:44. F&M made it a one-possession game off a Lionel Owona layup and the Garnet retook a five-point, 58-53, with 56 ticks on the clock. Matthew Tate hit a triple to bring F&M within two and after two missed free throws by the Garnet, F&M had the final shot, but came up short as time expired.