Swarthmore hoops heads to Division III Final Four

Matt Leon
March 12, 2019 - 4:12 pm
The Swarthmore College men's basketball team celebrates after reaching the NCAA Division III Final Four.

Courtesy of Swarthmore College Athletics

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — For the first time in program history, the Swarthmore College men's basketball team is getting ready to play in the NCAA Division III Final Four.

The 28-3 Garnet will take on Christopher Newport University in the national semifinals on Friday night at 6:00 p.m. in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Swarthmore has won four games in the tournament to get to this point. The victory that punched their ticket to the Final Four came this past Saturday when the Garnet held off Nichols College, 69-65. 

Swarthmore never trailed against Nichols and actually led by as many as 19 points in the first half before holding off the Bison down the stretch.

"The way we came out and kind of put them on their heels early was satisfying," Swarthmore head coach Landry Kosmalski said. "We defended them, I think we were physical and then we attacked them offensively. Kind of the way we try to play. The game went like a lot of our games this year, although it was a little tighter than we would've liked at the end."

READ: Swarthmore Hoops heads to D3 Sweet 16 

That win over Nichols was a program record 14th in a row for the Garnet, who now focus on this Final Four battle with Christopher Newport. The Captains are riding a 13-game winning streak and they bring a 29-3 record into Friday.

"We did play them in the NCAA Tournament two years ago (Swarthmore lost 77-67 in a second round match-up), so we know them a little bit," Kosmalski said of Christopher Newport. "I know John (Krikorian), he's an excellent coach, I mean a very, very good coach. So we know that they're well coached. They're a very physical team, athletic team, disciplined team. Very tough as well. So they're going to really try to take away what you like to do offensively with their toughness and their athleticism."

Kosmalski talks about what it will take to have success on Friday night. 

"We're going to have to have a good game plan and we're going to have to practice that over the next few days and we're going to have to execute it," he said. "Our guys have been great at doing that. And while we're doing that for Christopher Newport on Friday, we're also going to have to keep playing to our strengths. We have certain things that we like to do, we like to play pretty fast offensively, play good team defense and we're going to have to prioritize those things and do them just like we have the whole year."

The other Final Four match-up on Friday will have Wheaton College taking on University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.   

The two winners Friday will meet for the National Championship on Saturday night.

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