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Garnet Conclude Tournament As National Runners-Up
3/18/2019 11:40 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind.—The magical 2019 season for No. 6 Swarthmore College Men's Basketball came to an end in the NCAA National Championship game on Saturday night.

The Garnet made it further than they ever had before, eclipsing the previous high-water mark set by the program in each of the previous seasons. Last season the Garnet reached the NCAA's Elite Eight, in 2016-17 it was the NCAA's Second Round, and in 2015-16, Cam Wiley's freshman year, the team had been on the cusp of making the NCAA Tournament but lost in the Centennial Conference Championship game.

This year saw the Garnet set a new school record with 29 wins. Swarthmore program-record 15-game win streak ended with a 96-82 loss in the title game to the No. 4 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Titans.

Wiley posted 20 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals in his final game with the Garnet. He scored exactly 500 points this season, averaging 15.2 points per game, and wrapped up his Garnet totals with 1,565 career points. Wiley got to go out on a make, finishing a layup with 11 seconds to go, and in so doing, moving into third-place all-time in Swarthmore's career record book in scoring.

Junior forward Zac O'Dell led the Garnet with 22 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 57.9 percent from the field. Both Wiley and O'Dell were named to the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament team.

Sophomore Conor Harkins pitched in 17 points and six rebounds. He connected on five 3-pointers and crushed the school record for 3-pointers made (which he set last year) by knocking down 110 this year.

Wiley, O'Dell and Harkins were the only Garnet players who were having any luck sinking a basket early on and the three scored Swarthmore's first 24 points. Freshman George Visconti, who dropped in 13 points, knocked down a triple with 6:11 left in the first half for the first Garnet basket from someone other than the aforementioned three scorers.

The Garnet fell behind early, missing their first six shots while the Titans sank their first five attempts. Swarthmore, looking up from an immediate 11-0 deficit, never gave up. Later, with 8:07 left in the first half, the Garnet trailed by 15 and took a timeout. Inspired after the huddle, the Garnet bounced back and went out on a 12-2 run that was sparked by two tough layups by Wiley. Back within striking distance, Swarthmore pulled to within three points with 1:42 remaining in the first half.

Oshkosh pushed the lead back up to eight by halftime, but a minute into the second half, the Garnet were back within three points again. Oshkosh again fended off Swarthmore's charge, scoring 10 straight points, seven from Connor Duax who finished with 16 points.

Duax was one of five Titans to score in double digits. Their leading scorer, center Jack Flynn, netted a game-high 33 points on 13-of-18 shooting (72 percent). A Flynn layup pushed Oshkosh's lead back up to 15 points with 11:31 remaining.

Swarthmore connected on a couple 3-pointers to cut the deficit to eight with 9:06 to play. The teams traded 3-pointers and a triple from Abass Sallah from the corner brought Swarthmore within seven with 5:08 left.

Unfortunately for the Garnet, they were unable to get any closer the rest of the way. With time running down the Garnet began to press and then were forced to foul to stop the clock. The margin for Oshkosh became slightly inflated as the team shot 16 free throws in the final three minutes, hitting 13 of those tries. As a team Oshkosh was 21-for-26 (80.8 percent) from the stripe while Swarthmore was 3-for-4.

Swarthmore graduates two-year letter winner Lee Martin and Wiley. In Wiley's four seasons, the team had its winningest four-year span, racking up 99 victories, two Centennial Conference titles and making three consecutive NCAA Tournaments.

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