Will Gates ’13 scored 20 points and Matt Allen ’10 added 16, but their combined 36 points weren’t enough to overcome the Muhlenberg Mules (12-8, 10-3 CC) on the road as the Garnet fell to 5-15 overall, 4-9 in Centennial Conference play.
Gates and Allen accounted for 36 of the Garnet’s 50 points, knocking down all seven of Swarthmore’s three point shots in the 64-50 loss. But the Mules countered with sophomore forward Spencer Liddic ’12, who was outstanding against the Garnet in the second half of play, scoring 17 of his game-high 24 points. Liddic also added 19 rebounds.
The Garnet entered the day’s play three games behind the Gettysburg Bullets for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Centennial Conference. But while the Bullets took care of business against the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays, the Garnet struggled from the start against the Mules.
Swarthmore scored only 15 first-half points, ending the half 18.5% from the field. The game was tied at 15 before the Mules rattled off 12 straight points. The Garnet ended the half without scoring a point for the final eight minutes.
Strong defensive pressure kept Swarthmore in the game, as they held Muhlenberg to 0-10 shooting from behind the three-point arc. The Mules led 27-15 at the break. While Muhlenberg struggled from three and free-throw line, from where they shot just 10-21, they converted inside the arc, while the Garnet struggled. Muhlenberg shot 50% inside while Swarthmore shot just 32% from two.
Only six players scored for the Garnet: Jordan Martinez ’13 added six points, while Danny Walker ’10, Sam Lacy ’11, and Sean Conroe ’13 each added two.
After halftime, the Mules extended the lead to 19 points with 11 minutes to play before the Garnet slowly chipped the lead back to single digits on a Martinez layup and three Matt Allen threes. The Garnet would get no closer than nine points as they trailed 53-44 with 5:23 remaining.
The Garnet played without starter Ryan Carmichael ’11, who was sidelined due to illness. Walker started in his place and ended with nine rebounds and two assists in addition to his two points.
The Garnet are scheduled to return to action on Saturday afternoon when they host the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays at Tarble Pavilion in a must-win contest for the Centennial Conference playoffs. That game will be broadcast live online on the Garnet Sports Network through athletics.swarthmore.edu.