The Swarthmore College men’s basketball team knows there’s no place like home. This season, the No. 11 Garnet boast a 13-0 record in the friendly confines of Tarble Pavilion with no game more memorable than a thrilling 58-56, Senior Day victory over Franklin & Marshall last Saturday.
With the win, top-seeded Swarthmore earned hosting privileges for this weekend’s Centennial Conference tournament and gave the Class of 2018 its first career triumph over the Diplomats.
"Home court advantage is certainly nice and it's easier to walk five minutes to the gym than it is to drive a couple of hours to a game," says forward Robbie Walsh '18, an economics and mathematics major from Summit, N.J. "The crowd is always awesome, they provide a lot of energy, and make it a really fun atmosphere for us."
The reigning conference champions begin their title defense on Fri., Feb. 23, at 8 p.m. against Ursinus, whom they have defeated twice already this season. Should the Garnet prevail, they will play the winner of Franklin & Marshall and Johns Hopkins on Sat., Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. with the conference’s automatic berth into the Division III NCAA Tournament on the line. Last season, the Garnet advanced to the second round of the national bracket with the program’s first win in the tournament.
Tickets for the game are available at the door and online. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students between the ages of 13-17, and free for children 12 and under. Students of participating schools and all Swarthmore faculty and staff can also attend free of charge with presentation of a valid ID. Fans unable to make it to Tarble Pavilion can watch a live stream of the games on the Garnet Sports Network or YouTube.
The men’s basketball squad is not the only Swarthmore team defending a conference title this weekend; the men’s swimming team, which won its first-ever conference crown in 2017, is in Lancaster, Pa., for the four-day championship meet, which begins on Thursday morning. The Garnet finished 6-0 in conference dual meets this season, highlighted by a 133-129 victory over Gettysburg on Senior Day. Meanwhile, the women’s swimming team looks to improve on last year’s third-place finish and to cap off an impressive campaign, which featured the program’s first win over Gettysburg since the 1983-84 season.
"Our expectations for this weekend are pretty simple: we want to swim fast and enjoy the experience of exceeding personal goals and celebrating accomplishments as a team," says head coach Karin Colby. "Swimming as a sport is both individual and team focused, so if each of our students puts together the best performances they can, then we'll have some really strong team finishes."
Updated results and team standings will be provided by host Franklin & Marshall throughout the meet.
Meanwhile, on Saturday and Sunday, the men's and women's track & field teams will go for the gold at the conference's championship meet hosted by Ursinus College. The women's squad recently finished second at Haverford's Keogh Invitational and the Garnet men placed fourth.