LANCASTER, Pa. -- No. 17 Swarthmore pulled away with a narrow 75-68 victory over Franklin & Marshall in Centennial Conference (CC) men's basketball action Saturday afternoon at the Mayser Center. The Garnet improved to 16-3, 9-3 CC, while the Diplomats fell to 11-8, 5-7 CC.
The game was highly contested in the opening half with both teams exchanging leads in first five minutes of action. Swarthmore went ahead five, 12-7, at 13:39 and held a 16-11 advantage at 11:39. Solomon Mathis led F&M on a 14-4 run over the next five minutes with eight points of his own to give F&M a 25-20 lead at 6:41. The Garnet stayed close and went up by one in the last minute of action, but Matt Redhead's jumper with 30 seconds left gave F&M a 32-31 edge at the break.
Back-to-back 5-0 runs by both teams gave F&M a 41-36 lead three minutes into the second, before the Garnet went on a 15-5 run over the next seven minutes for a 51-46 lead with 9:21 left to play. F&M came within three, 53-50, a minutes later, but Swarthmore put together a 12-5 spurt for a 10-point lead, 65-55, with a little more than four minutes remaining.
The Diplomats answered with an 11-2 run, with seven points from Kupa, to come within one, 67-66, at 1:28. Two free throws from Mathis made it a three-point game, 71-68 inside 30 seconds, but the Garnet went 4-for-4 line in final seconds to secure the win.
Swarthmore owned both shooting percentage (49%-42%) and rebounds at 29-28.
F&M returns to action on Wednesday when the Diplomats host Gettysburg at 7:00 p.m.