Fords Hold Off Pesky Garnet

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

HAVERFORD, Pa. – With a chance to send the game into overtime, the Swarthmore College men’s basketball team missed three three-point attempts in the final 15 seconds of the play, falling to rival Haverford 65-62 in a hard-fought and well-played contest on Wednesday evening in Gooding Arena.

Junior Will Gates led Swarthmore (1-15, 1-8) with 17 points on four-of-seven shooting from behind the arc. Sophomore Jay Kober added 14 points and senior Michael Giannangeli chipped in with 11 points. Haverford’s Brett Cohen led all scorers with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Gates’ fourth three-pointer of the contest tied the game 62-62 with 1:48 to play. Just when it looked as if Swat had the momentum and was poised to pull off the major upset, the Fords responded on the next possession in what turned out to be pivotal play of the game. Set up by an assist from point guard Ian Goldberg, Cohen hit a lay-up in the paint and drew a foul, eventually converting the and-one play to put the Fords ahead 65-62 with 1:24 to play.

After Swarthmore came up empty in its next possession, Haverford(6-10, 4-5) had a chance to put the game away with :34 remaining, but Cam Baker missed a pair of free throws to keep hope alive for the Garnet.

With one final chance to force overtime, Swarthmore came up painstakingly close in its final possession. Gates missed a contested three with five seconds to play but sophomore Jordan Federer was able pull down the offensive board. He dribbled out to arc and also missed a three-point attempt, but Kober was able to grab the offensive rebound. With the seconds ticking away, Kober got off an open look from three as time expired, but his shot rimmed out to seal the win for Haverford.

Featuring eight ties and seven lead changes, the back-and-forth game was close from the opening tip. Swarthmore took early edge, scoring the first five points of the game, but the Fords responded with an 11-0 run to go ahead 11-5 with 14:38 to play. Not to be outdone, the Garnet responded with a 6-0 run – fueled by baskets from Gates, Federer and freshman Matt Sharma – to take back the lead at 12-11.

The game remained tight for the remainder of the first half. With the Fords leading 28-23 with 4:47 to play, Swarthmore used a pair of three-pointers from Gates and another from Giannangeli to complete 9-2 run that gave Swat a 32-30 with 2:10 remaining in the first half. The Garnet led 37-34 before a three-pointer from Haverford’s Louis Cipriano with :02 seconds left in the half tied the game 37-37.

Tied 37-37 entering the second half, Swarthmore opened the second half on a 10-2 run to build its largest lead of the game. The run was fueled by a pair of three pointers from Giannangeli, with his triple at the 14:48 mark putting the Garnet ahead 47-39.

The Garnet maintained its lead for the next five minutes before Haverford began its comeback. A 10-1 run by Fords tied the game at 55-55 with  8:46 left to play. From that point on, neither team would open up a lead larger than four points en route to the last-second finish.

Swarthmore shot 48 percent from the field in the first half, but its offense went cold in the final 10 minutes of the game, hitting just three baskets over that stretch.

Federer (pictured) finished the game with nine points and three assists. Gates and Giannangeli each dished out four assists. Gates pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.

Swarthmore returns home to face Ursinus on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 3:00 p.m.

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