Kupa Beats the Buzzer Against No. 8 Swarthmore

Kupa Beats the Buzzer Against No. 8 Swarthmore

Box Score

SWARTHMORE, Pa. - Justin Kupa's three-pointer as time expired delivered Franklin & Marshall's men's basketball team a memorable 53-51 upset win over No. 8 Swarthmore on Saturday afternoon in Centennial Conference (CC) competition.

The Diplomats improved to 5-2, 2-1 CC with the road triumph, while the Garnet fell to 4-2, 1-2 CC on the year.

Each team traded layups in the game's final minute that kept F&M ahead by a 50-49 score with just 15 ticks on the clock. Swarthmore forced a Diplomat turnover and converted on a jumper with only :03 to go to take the one-point lead. Following a strategic Garnet foul at midcourt to bring the clock down to :01.7, Mike Rice found Kupa on the ensuing in-bounds play at the top of the key, who gained space on his defender and drained the game winner. 

Swarthmore appeared to be in control with the game's largest lead at 31-22 with 14:29 remaining in the second half. The Diplomats charged back with a 13-5 run over the next six minutes, which was capped off by a Kupa three-pointer that pulled F&M within one at 36-35.

Timely Swarthmore basketballs kept the Diplomats at arms length until F&M took the lead for good off a Les Thomas three pointer, following by a J.C. McGrath go-ahead layup at 2:47 to give the Diplomats a 43-42 edge.

The first half saw both teams struggle to find their shooting rhythm with identical 29 percent showings from the field as the Garnet entered the break nursing a 21-20 advantage. Tied at 12-12 with 8:32 to go before halftime, F&M went on a 6-0 run to take the frame's largest lead of the game, before Swarthmore answered with 9-2 spurt to head into the break with a one-point edge.

The Diplomats shot a scorching 65 percent (13-20) from the field in the second half, which included a 6-for-6 effort and 14 points from Kupa. For the game, Kupa led all players with 18 points on 7-of-11 from the floor. Matt Redhead tallied 10 total points, while McGrath added eight points, five rebounds and three steals. 

F&M outshot Swarthmore by a 45.5-37.9 percent clip and went 9-for-11 from the charity stripe. Cam Wiley paced the Garnet with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting, to go along with seven rebounds and six assists. 

CC competition continues on Wednesday when the Diplomats travel to Haverford for an 8:00 p.m. contest.