Swarthmore College basketball continues to be a D3 powerhouse

Matt Leon
January 15, 2019 - 10:46 am
Swarthmore College senior guard Cam Wiley

Swarthmore College Athletics

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Swarthmore College men's basketball team has emerged over the last few years as a consistent power in Division III.

The Garnet won four NCAA Tournament games over the previous two seasons. Their postseason run in 2017-18 ended in the national quarterfinals. 

This season, Swarthmore hasn't missed a beat as the Garnet sit at 13-2 on the season, ranked 10th in the country in Division III.

"We've had a good start, despite a couple buzzer-beaters for our two losses," Swarthmore head coach Landry Kosmalski said. "Guys responded well, and we're playing at a high level right now."

Swarthmore is outscoring its opponents by more than 15 points a game this season on average, while outrebounding them by nearly a dozen on any given night. The Garnet shoot 46 percent from the field as a team, while allowing opponents to connect on just 38 percent of their shots.

Kosmalski says he has a strong group of team captains helping to lead the way this season.

"We have two junior captains, Zac O'Dell and Nate Shafer, and then a senior captain in Cam Wiley," he said. "Most people know about Cam. This is his third great year in a row. Those guys are leading us really well, and I think it's translating into some really good play and good confidence from our younger guys. Because we're playing three freshmen and three sophomores, and I think those guys' leadership and example has really helped the younger guys elevate their games."

Swarthmore's success means that they are now a team that everyone circles on the calendar. 

"We learned that last year," he said. "We started the year, and every game was really just difficult and trying. As coaches, we were mentally exhausted after the game, and our guys were physically exhausted. What we learned about midway through the year is, we said, we need to welcome this and embrace it, because getting everyone's best shot just makes us stronger in the end."

The Garnet are 6-2 in the always rugged Centennial Conference, and it's all conference play from here on out. Kosmalski spoke about their focus these days.

"I think a lot of it is just going back to the little things," he said. "We need to do some execution details better. We do need to keep focusing on taking it day by day, focusing on the present and not look forward to whatever our seasonal goals are. We need to focus on the day-to-day and just get a little bit better with our execution details, maintain and elevate our defensive effort and the mental part, we just have to kind of stay focused on doing it day by day and doing it together."

Swarthmore returns to action on Wednesday night with a home game against Muhlenberg.

Follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.