PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A fantastic season continued last night for the Swarthmore College men’s basketball team.
The Garnet beat visiting Washington College at Tarble Pavilion 62-47 to improve to 16-2. They lead the Centennial Conference with a 10-1 league mark and the Garnet are currently ranked 11th in the nation in Division III.
“We really believe in this group,” Swarthmore head coach Landry Kosmalski told KYW Newsradio after the win. “But to their credit, they’ve surprised me and I think it really just has to do with senior leadership. We’ve got three senior captains and they just, every day, they are taking care of everything in terms of our energy, in terms of of talk, in terms of our effort. We’ve got a smaller team than in the past, 13 guys total, but it’s a really tight team and with their leadership, we’re pretty consistent in the things that are important every day.”
The Garnet are balanced and deep. Nine players average at least 15 minutes a game and four players average double figure points. Junior guard Cam Wiley, the reigning Centennial Conference Player of the Year, leads the way at 14.9 ppg. Senior guard Zack Yonda is second in scoring, pouring in 13.6 points a night and the Conestoga High School product is enjoying the ride.
“It’s been great,” Yonda tells KYW Newsradio. “I’m loving every second of it as a senior. Trying to not take any moment for granted.”
Yonda talks about what he feels is critical to Swarthmore’s success.
“We have a really strong culture,” he says. “All thirteen of the guys on our team really enjoy playing for each other. And we don’t play for ourselves, we play for each other. So I think when you’re not doing things for yourself and you’re doing things for other people, you can rise above adversity and take the team to another level and take our play to another level.”
This is Kosmalski’s sixth season in charge at Swarthmore and he has enjoyed a level of success unparalleled in program history. Last season, the Garnet went 23-6, winning the Centennial title and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Kosmalski says they know that the program is now in a place where they get everyone’s best, night in and night out.
“It’s been a great challenge and we are going to get everyone’s best shot,” Kosmalski says. “And we just embrace it. Any adversity, like a game like [Thursday night] where we struggled at times, we think just makes us stronger. So we welcome the best shot because not everyone gets everyone’s best shot. We get it every night and we really feel it just makes us better, makes us stronger.”
Swarthmore will return to action on Saturday with a road game against Gettysburg.