FORT WAYNE, Ind. — It had been tears of joy on Friday night, but on Saturday, another kind of tears marked the end of what was a historic season for Swarthmore men’s basketball. The memorable run abruptly came to a halt one game short of the goal, as the Garnet fell to Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 96-82, in the NCAA Division III national championship game at Memorial Coliseum.
“Proud of our guys for the way they battled all season and battled all day,” coach Landry Kosmalski said. “We’re emotional in the locker room, because we sacrificed a lot, and we have a really strong brotherhood, so, disappointing ending, but it doesn’t take away from the great season we had.”
UW-Oshkosh, which fell in the national championship game a season ago, left no room for error this year, leading from start to finish.
Junior Zac O’Dell paced the Garnet with 22 points, going 11 of 19 from the floor.
Swarthmore rarely had seen a team with the size of the Titans, who scored 48 of their 96 points in the paint. Junior center Jack Flynn led the Titans with 33 points.
The loss marks the end of senior guard's Cam Wiley's storied career. He finished with 20 points.
'"I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams coming out of high school and being in this type of program," said Wiley, the only starter who will graduate. “The character of my teammates [and] coaches is just a wonderful thing, and I’m so grateful.”
Despite the loss, the Garnet posted their most successful season to date. They notched a program-high 29 wins, including a program-record 15 straight victories. They earned their second consecutive Centennial Conference Championship and competed in their first national championship.