SWARTHMORE, Pa. (CBS) — An outstanding season has now become historic for the Division III Swarthmore College men’s basketball team.
The Garnet are getting ready for their first-ever appearance in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. On Friday night, they will host Plattsburgh State at Tarble Pavillion.
Swarthmore got here by winning two games this past weekend up in Middlebury, Connecticut. In the first round on Friday they hammered New England College, 90-63. Then on the second round on Saturday, the Garnet dismissed Wesleyan University, 97-75.
“Both games were good,” Swarthmore head coach Landry Kosmalski tells KYW Newsradio. “Very different. New England College, very disruptive defensively, so that gave us some trouble at times during the game. Then a whole new set of problems when you play a team as good and well-coached as Wesleyan. So we had to get ready pretty quickly for a different style and our guys did a great job.”
At the top of the list of guys who did a great job sits junior guard Cam Wiley, who scored 50 points in the two wins combined. In the second round win over Wesleyan, he nearly had a triple-double, finishing with 27 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists.
“With Cam, the sky’s the limit,” Kosmalski says. “He played very well. Just finishing up [watching] the film [Monday] morning, I think it’s great that he scored points, but his rebounding and decision-making – he had 8 assists and [just three turnovers], [made] really, really good decisions and stuck his nose in for rebounds which was tremendous. Tremendous overall game for him.”
Swarthmore is now 24-5 on the season. The Plattsburgh team they will host on Friday night is 24-4 and riding a 21-game winning streak after beating Nichols College and Union College in the first two rounds.
Kosmalski talks about what his team will need to do to continue to have tournament success.
“I think we’re going to have to defend,” he says. “I think we’re going to have to attack offensively. I think this time of year you’re susceptible to playing uptight and looking ahead. We’ve been good all year because we attack and keep that going throughout the game. And then I think just the team chemistry, which always has been really strong this year, that was evident against Wesleyan. Our bench was great, our energy was great, our team spirit was great. We have to continue to do that when things are going our way and when they’re not. So I think those are the three main things we’ll be looking at going into this weekend.”
The other match-up at Tarble Pavilion on Friday night will be Hamilton taking on Springfield. The two Friday winners play in the NCAA quarterfinals on Saturday.
Swarthmore and Plattsburgh will get underway at 7:30pm on Friday.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.