Swarthmore Hoops heads to D3 Sweet 16

Matt Leon
March 06, 2019 - 12:46 pm
Swarthmore freshman guard George Visconti

Swarthmore College Athletics

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The ride will continue on Friday night for the Swarthmore College men's basketball team. 

The Garnet have advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division III Tournament and on Friday they will take on Randolph-Macon up in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Swarthmore (26-3) got here by winning its first two tourney games at home this past weekend. A 90-73 win over Mitchell in the first round on Friday was followed by a truly epic 105-65 win over MIT on Saturday.

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In that second victory Swarthmore put together a shooting performance for the ages. The Garnet made their first 13 three-point attempts (setting a Division III record), including all ten they attempted in the first half, and finished the game 14 for 17 from three (82.4%). Swarthmore shot an incredible 89% from the field in the first half overall and 73% for the game.

Head coach Landry Kosmalski was happy to see his team come up with such a great performance in such a big game.

"Obviously that's what you hope for and a lot of things came together," he said. "Besides the shooting, I think just overall our game, defensively and sharing the ball and staying locked in despite a big lead, I think all the mental and psychological aspects of the game are what we were most pleased with."

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Kosmalski talks about when he learned exactly how incredible the shooting numbers were.

"I'm excited about the win and about to go in and talk to the team and my assistant said, 'You know we were 10 of 10 from three in the first half?' I hadn't looked at the stat sheet (specifically three-pointers) at halftime. I did, but I was looking at rebounding and field goal percentage and free throws. I don't really pay attention to the threes. He said that and that's when I was blown away. Then my wife after the game was the one that told me about the 13 in a row. Again, in the heat of the game, you're not really noticing that as much, the streaks in shooting."

Four Garnet players scored in double figures in the win over MIT with freshman guard George Visconti leading the way with 21. Sophomore guard Conor Harkins was a huge part of the team's three-point shooting excellence, finishing six of six from behind the arc for 18 points.

Now the Garnet are focused on a Randolph-Macon team that is 27-3 and coming off wins over Morrisville State and York College in its first two tournament games.

"Well coached team," Kosmalski said. "(Head coach Josh Merkel) does a great job. Very physical defensively, good athletes, really high IQ players. Their point guard (Buzz) Anthony really makes them go, player of the year in their league. He both scores and creates for others so it makes him, obviously, a real threat. I think offensively they really try to attack you in different ways. So it's going to be a battle."

Swarthmore has experience getting this deep in the tournament. In fact, last season, the Garnet advanced to the national quarterfinals.

Friday night's game tips off at 5 p.m.

Follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.