SWARTHMORE, Pa.—Yes, you heard that correctly. Swarthmore College is just one of eight teams still playing in the 2017-18 NCAA Division III Tournament. The Garnet advanced out of the round of 16 by shellacking the Plattsburgh State Cardinals 93-63 on Friday night in a sold-out Tarble Pavilion.
The disparity on the scoreboard may have been shocking based simply on the proximity of the teams in the national rankings, as the Cardinals (24-5) entered the game ranked No. 16 and the Garnet (25-5) were only ranked two spots ahead of them. However, Swarthmore had a clear height advantage down low and used to their advantage. Swarthmore shot a season-best 59.7 percent from the floor and had a remarkable 75.6 percent success rate on attempts inside the 3-point line.
Swarthmore sophomore forward Nate Shafer had 14 points off the bench by halftime and finished with 18 points total on a 9-for-10 shooting night. Fellow sophomore forward Zac O'Dell recorded 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. He connected on 7-of-10 field goal attempts. Robbie Walsh, the senior, finished with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
Senior guard Zack Yonda led all players with 19 points. He went 5-for-7 from the floor and 6-for-7 from behind the free-throw line.
Swarthmore held a 40-32 rebounding advantage over Plattsburgh. Plattsburgh guard Jonathan Patron was there top rebounder with six to go along with his 12 points. Eric Mack had a team-high 16 points.
Swarthmore led 7-5 three minutes into the game when a short jumper from Zac O'Dell started a 15-0 run. Shafer's layup with 6:57 left in the first put Swarthmore ahead 28-11.
Plattsburgh hung around through the rest of the first half, but Swarthmore pumped up the lead to 21 points three minutes into the second half.
The Garnet strung together 13 straight points in the middle of the second half and led by 32 points with 10 minutes to play, putting the game completely out of reach.
Swarthmore's best season in program history continues on Saturday at 7 p.m. against the program that got the very history of basketball started. Swarthmore tips off against unranked Springfield College at home in the National Quarterfinals. Springfield advanced Friday after beating No. 13 Hamilton College in overtime.
⚡️ "Men's Basketball Advances Past Plattsburgh Into National Quarterfinals"https://t.co/1H9m7OWN7n— Swarthmore Athletics (@SwatAthletics) March 10, 2018